Friday, April 27, 2012

The Middle JAAR's Final PBL

We salute to our veterans! They are the brave who fight for everyone but who will fight for them? As the Middle JAAR's final PBL project we would like to bring people's attentions towards homeless veterans. Some American military veterans are experiencing many hardships since returning home from their tours of duty. Many are without jobs, struggling to find food, and are homeless. Our group’s goal is to inform everyone of the challenges our heroes are facing day-to-day.  So our Final Project Based Learning Project we were introducing our students to a real world problem and allow them to see differences anyone can do. 
So our Essential Question: How can you make a difference in a homeless veterans life? 
Our Lesson Question: Why should we make a difference in a homeless veterans life?
Our Learning Activity: Our learning activity is based on a real life problem, homelessness, and not just any homeless person but a veteran living out on the street. We want to help our students understand the importance of helping out in different way in their community. We want to help formulate opinions and responses to issues by helping them understand the influence they can make on a person or event. Each student has a right and responsibility as a citizen while understanding the importance of volunteering to achieve public goals in the American Society. The learning goal is to spark ideas of how to help homeless veterans and why it is important to give aid and assistance as an individual. Many students do not understand what it would be like in someones else's shoes until they are confronted with the seriousness and realness of many people's reality.
So the answer to raise awareness for these veterans was to introduce our students to the free picture editing online website called Using this website our students would choose a relief program already set up to help homeless veterans and create a poster supporting their chosen program. 
Our Lesson Plan along with resources and explanations can be found within this Google Document. HERE 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's Blabb the World News

One thing most people know about me is I like to talk. At work sometimes I am too much of a social butterfly and talk too much but I call that good customer service. Anywho my friends and I from The Middle JAAR have created a BLABB using is a free website that allows you to upload a photo, and create a mouth on the photo to talk through. It's simply, free and easy. We were encouraged to Blabb from Team Gelastic, So the Middle JAAR created a newscast based off current events we collected.
Here is our Blabb to the World!
 I would most definitely use Blabberize in my future classroom, I could see this as a funny way to introduce directions or encourage a group project. It is so easy to use, I'll let my students use Blabberize as a fun way to Blabb to the Classroom!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE webinars

This last weekend I was able to listen to two webinars from Classroom 2.0 LIVE. These webinars were hosted by Steve Hargadon. Within these webinars I was able to have a look into a seminar online. That's what a webinar is after all, these sessions were an hour-long and the hosts were real people who would be chatting with you online. There was a sign in and join sessions within the web session, the listeners were not only able to listen but interact with the speaker. With the tech. gadgets like back channel chat and the starburst clicker I was able to see the interactive part first hand. There were so many technology and online gadgets used throughout the webinars. Here are my guesses: Perhaps a program like Jing was used to record their session, so viewers like me could listen in on a later date. There was also talk of back channel chat where listeners could type there responses to the speaker. I am familuar with a back channel chat from my first semester of ED Tech.&Design. Also a poll taken of the listeners and their feedback was recorded by use of the gadget "starburst" no not the sweet tangy candy but a device to record responses from the crowd. When I went to the Education Conference last year I went to a session where each individual was given a star burst which resembles a remote control which is wireless connected to the computer system to record responses to questions and compile the data on screen. Very CooL!
The webinar I listened to was called; Screen cast and Chris was the speaker. During the original Live session Chris was in Thailand or London one of those cities/countries any who he was performing a live Skype session with the rest of the viewers. Just another example of technology advances.
Whenever I think of Skype and all the advances "We" have made, it blows my mind. In 1962 the television show The Jetson's made 50 years ago predicted in the future we have tv screens pop up and we would be able to talk to someone else who is far away or within the same city. Now I am just waiting for the flying cars and the teleportation devices. You know I take that back, I would settle for self driving cars, so I could sleep and relax the 5 hour drive home to my friends in Rockford IL.  Technology has come a long way since I was in school, the microphones used in classrooms so each student can hear instructions clearly and the disuse and re-create of the Over Head projector into Elmo Smart boards. The clicker and starburst programs that allow teachers to view all the students' participation monitored by the computer signals. That way the student's number will be recorded so the teacher will know which student they need to watch over next time. All advances I've witnessed since my time in school.
With these webinars, teachers, adults and students have been able to stay up to date on all the programs available for classroom use. Here are some online programs and websites I have learned about just this year alone:
Google SketchUp 
These are just the Start and I am sure I will continue to learn about more interesting technology gadgets as I like to refer to them. These gadgets are growing and giving us more opportunities to do more Learning and Creating. If the creators of The Jetsons got Skype right 50 years later I can only wait in anticipation for the creations and creativity we will have in the 50 years, I hope it's a Flying Car! ;) 

(Extra Credit!)


Friday, April 20, 2012

Leaps and Bounds on a Playground

Memories on a playground, something every child should have but what if you unable to play on a playground? There are many children with disabilities who are unable of playing on playgrounds mostly due to the playground equipment not being accessible. So to accommodate all children, my friends and I created some awesome playgrounds using a new program: Google Sketch Up. Google Sketch Up is an easy way to create 3D models of just about anything. We were able to create our own accessible playground equipment for our playground. I decided to create a "Magical Playground" using Cinderella Castle combined with King Arthur's Court to create a medieval playground.  The draw bridge is wide enough to roll wheel chairs through, the ground is made of the soft foam solid enough to run and play and wheel and roll. Both castles have ramps and stairs on on each side with large platforms at the end of the ramps and stairs. Slides and secret passageways for children to play happily in fantasy.

If you would like to play around with Google Sketch Up, it is free but
I'd recommend you watch the video and get to know all the functions.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rachel meets Glogster

Today in Classroom Computer Applications; Working On It'
 The main goal of the overall lesson was being aware words matter. Kindness is free and if you are willing give kind words, you do affect others. After I read over the RWLD's for this lesson, I read about how words matter and that people take others words to heart and it can change their whole mood. I went on Facebook after reading the RWLD's and my friend Larissa wrote on her FB that someone told her she has a nice smile. Whoever said that to her, made her happy. So happy that her entire mood changed and so shared her happiness on Facebook. (True Story) So I was able to see the effects of words and how they can affect others.
So the group then introduced me to  I have never heard of Glogger but since using it. I love it! It is so easy to use and fun to create. is a website that allows you to be creative and make posters online. You can create a mash up of pictures, music and videos for any occasion. Glogster is free and easy to use. Teachers and students can use Glogster in the classroom or for school projects or even for fun. I could see myself using Glogster so much in the classroom but I could also see myself using this for holidays and birthdays. You are able to create anything for any purpose.

This is my first creation on Glogster. I tried to make a Happy Fun, Brighten up your Day kind of Glogster

Splash a little Color in your Life! 

A Lost Falcon

"Far far above the clouds against the setting sun. A falcon flies all alone soaring in the wind, riding the silent wind, the falcon flies alone reaching up with his wings into the empty sky.What is it within my heart no one can ever know, a lonely falcon within the empty sky." 
Sadness and Tears fill my heart, Sunday April 15, 2012: a fifteen year old boy died. Carson Vandeventer was a freshman at Valley Southwoods High School. Even though I only met him a few times, when we did talk to me he was someone to remember. When we talked he would look you straight in the eyes and actually talk to you, you know form a conversation and when you are the newest boyfriend of my little sister that to me said something. Although things did not work out between Carson and my sister, I still know those two were very close friends. His death leaves her and his family with a piece of their world as empty as the sky. Carson Fly High! You are missed and your presence within our lives is being felt even now within me. Since I have received the news, my heart aches for you; you were too young to have left so suddenly. There is this song originally from (Studio Ghibli but Disney owns the rights within the U.S.) the movie Tales of the Earthsea; Teru's Song these words came into my head since the news of your death. Some of them are above in first sentences. Carson you were like a young falcon who has just learned to fly, you were just getting ready to explore those skies and the rest of the world. Now your friends and family search the shies for you. Carson, my heart cries for you as well as your family. Knowing my sister is in so much pain, her tears as well as mine are all for you. I know you are watching over everyone now from the skies in Heaven. You are missed but you will never be forgotten;
Rest in Peace Carson Venderventer <3

Sadness and tears fill my heart
when you're young the world seems
so big but without someone like you      
it is still missing something. We are sad
to think you left. My thoughts and prayers
are with you and your family Carson Vandeventer

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rachel Listens/Creates a Podcast

Transition from 8th into High School is something every teenager has to go through but fortunately we have taken it upon ourselves to give knowledge and advise to those nervous 8th graders. For our CCA class

The Middle JAAR's podcast answers fears and questions 8th graders have before they transition into 9th grade. Our goal is to help 8th graders become better prepared for the transition to high school. Being a freshman can be a bit intimidating so we have interviewed real high school students who share with us some stories about their times in high school. These high school students shared some "things they wish they knew before"and they give some good advise on how to get involved and make friends.

Plus we bust a few myth involving high school, unfortunately it is nothing like in the movies or on TV.

Our podcast is filled with tons of good information with almost everything incoming freshman need to survive high school. Making friends, getting involved, study tips and myths about scary seniors and mean teachers. Our podcast is educational as well as entertaining. We decided to do the theme of the podcast as a newscast report. We made our podcast on the computer program Garageband which is available on the Mac computer systems. We then uploaded the finished podcast on If you would like to check our page at