Teacher's Journal

October 19, 1998
I often get e-mail from people offering me feedback on my website and projects.  It is nice to know that my work has had a positive effect not only on my students, but other students as well.  I would like to share this e-mail with you.  

Hello Mrs. Silverman and Class,

I'm a second grade teacher at Solon Robinson Elementary School in Crown Point, Indiana. My students and I haven't had much experience with the internet, but since we had the technology at our school, and since my students showed an interest in it, I felt it was my duty to do something with it.

In trying to find something for my kids to browse, I stumbled upon your home page. Boy, have you been an inspiration to us! We were so impressed with what you did, that we started our very own home page. You gave us lots of ideas. We're only novices, but we're off to a good start. Hopefully,
we'll have some pictures of our class to put on the net soon.

Also, thanks to you we're part of the Flat Stanley Project and the Pet Exchange. You certainly have brought a lot of excitement to our classroom. We've visited your web site so often, we think we know all of you.

Thanks for being our mentors. Could you have guessed that you had a fan club in Indiana?

Hopefully, we'll hear from you some time. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about New York. I grew up in New Jersey, so I'm somewhat familiar with your "neck of the woods", but it's been a very long time since I've been out your way.

Again, thanks for being an inspiration to others. We'll continue to look for your name as we get involved in these great projects you informed us about.

Sue Hamilton
Solon Robinson Elementary School
Crown Point, Indiana

(permission was given to reprint this letter)

October 29, 1998

Over the summer I wrote an article for The Well Connected Educator about the joys of having a class website.  It gives family and friends from out of town the opportunity to see what the class is doing and monitor the student's   progress.  Morgan's grandmother is a frequent visitor of our site and also corresponds with her in class via e-mail.  She is able to take an active role in her granddaughter's education as you can see in this letter.

Hi Morgan,
Here is a picture of the Evening Bat that sometimes lives in our mailbox. There are 16 species of bats in Florida, this is one of the smallest, and it teeny-tiny.
Love, Grandma

evening.jpg (10076 bytes)

(Morgan's grandmother is a nature photographer and sends us beautiful pictures.  Permission was given to reprint this letter.)

November 7, 1998

Yesterday I gave a presentation on Collaborative Internet Projects at the Scope Technology Conference in Islandia, New York.

The keynote speaker was Scott Muri,   Instructional Technology Specialist,  Celebration School,  Florida. He talked about all the innovative ways that technology is being used at Celebration School but couldn’t stress enough the importance of teaching students to collaborate in order to prepare for jobs in the future.

For the past three years my students participated and hosted numerous Internet collaborative projects.  These projects supported state learning standards and were motivating for students.  In order for these projects to be successful both students and teachers engaged in online collaboration.  Last spring I coordinated Stellaluna’s Friends.

The participants researched bats in their communities and their work was showcased on a website. Over the summer I received e-mail from a Stellaluna participant in New Zealand. She wanted to share with me something very exciting that resulted from her participation in my project.  Her students in New Zealand started e-mailing a participating class from Chicago.  The results of their collaboration are posted on her website.   This is a perfect example of how powerful collaborative projects are!

I have done many exciting educational activities in my twenty-eight years of teaching,  but these collaborative projects are the most motivating,  rewarding and educationally sound!

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