Category Archives: curriculum

Scratch that!

I just started this week with teaching my TechSperts (Grades 4-6) MIT’s Scratch programming software ( to make interactive games and stories about the Internet Safety topics we have learned about on

I admit, I had WAY too much fun playing around, I mean, learning the software.

Check out my first Scratch Project!
Scratch Project

We won!

I’ve twittered about this but didn’t bother to post the details here on my blog! The timing is still relevant as just yesterday I attended the reception for all ARRA Title IID grant recipients at the DESE in Malden. I applied in October and was notified in December of our winning of the a little over $98,000 in equipment, software, and professional development to support and enhance our ELA curriculum with technology! It is a 2 year grant and we have already begun. The equipment is being prepped this week, and the planning with all invested parties – principals, teachers, IT specialist, and coaches – will begin next week.

With the funds we were able to purchase a “Mobile Literacy Lab” – 26 Macbooks, 12 32 GB ipod touches, 2 mobile carts, 2 sets of A/V speakers, a projector, a Mac Server capable of hosting wikis and blogs internally, and almost $50,000 worth of 3 years of licensing and upgrading our current reading intervention software, Lexia.

And then the age-old question follows the WOW! (or the COOL!): What are you going to do with it?

More to come…

( :

Here is the grant application:

And here is the Awarded Announcement page (we are Boston Renaissance):

Out of 81 proposals, 34 were selected. Woot!

“ninging” it

I am totally immersed in exploring the application of the Ning (and social networks in general) in the classroom. Right now, I have built a ning for my teen media makers class, and am still working with an outsourced web development company on an alumni social network. The GoGlobal international ning has kindof been put on hold for now, but I did apply for a grant to travel to London this summer to meet face to face with the educators involved in that project in the hopes that we can get a project developed for next year.

So far in, we have as a class developed an acceptable use policy. We looked at existing AUPs, such as MySpace’s, Facebooks, and the Ning itself, and then partnered up to develop guidelines in each of the following categories : safety, feedback, language, content, and consequences.

We have next moved into power and roles. Each member is asked to explore and document the “powers” they have inside the ning. I am contemplating¬† giving everyone (there are 8 kids) the same “powers”, as in the power to moderate each other. But we may discuss whether we should elect moderators or not. Much is up in the air!

Next we will look further at identity, and the students will modify their profile by populating it with identifying media, such as photos, videos, text and more, about who they are and where they are from, as a way to connect their “offline” world with their “online” world.

These are all initial thoughts…and I have been seeking more reading and curricula from colleagues…

Why should I hire you?

Why should I hire you?

Originally uploaded by msradden

My small but savvy advanced web group is gearing up for their client to come in for the kickoff interview session. We picked a company name (“4 girls, a guy and a laptop”) and each student is completing a layout in Photoshop of their employee profile within the company web site. They will post their resumes and cover letters as well as a complete bio. Next week we will slice them up into HTML, link them and FTP each page! Stay tuned for the launch…

The future me…


Originally uploaded by msradden

It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Boston these days…The Sox play game 2 tonight of the ALCS, the undefeated PATS take on the Cowboys tomorrow, and there’s even some hope for the Celtics…So I’ve posted this retouched photo made by one of my media students in honor of one of my favorite Sox, David Ortiz!

Students in Media Seminar used industry standard retouching techniques in Photoshop to create “realistic” photos of themselves in a future job or place that connects with their social, academic, and professional goals. These images are part of a larger animated identity piece in which students reflect on where they are from, who they are, and where they are going, incorporating voice overs and imagery to reflect their identity.

Additionally, we studied the ethics of retouching images and the kinds of messages that manipulated media send. As part of a reflection on this project, the students were asked how to identify manipulated imagery based on a reading I provided, and reflected on when it is acceptable to manipulate imagery and when it is not. We had some great discussions in class, and hopefully after the reflections are posted in the class blog, we can have some online discussions as well.

Oh about that class blog…BPS blocks inconsistently, so my original collaborative blog on won’t work. Plus the school’s email server blocks the invitation emails to the students. Kids need a GMAIL account to even post. I have since figured I need to install a word press blog on my own or the school’s server. I did correspond with a BPS OIIT member who was unsure what teachers were using across the board. He did recommend which I will check out too. Bottom line is, once again, a great online tool is “banned” from usage in the classroom, and teachers like me who see the educational value in it, have to find a workaround. Like using shareware to grab FLVs off of youtube to show in school since Youtube is blocked as well!