Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Winter Break Rules

Winter Break ruled this year because Mr. Lockyer and I were married at 3pm on Christmas Day in a village called Prospect on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. We were surrounded by family and friends. Since we're Super Geeks, we streamed our wedding live on the Internet, where hundreds of people watched online.
Why did YOUR Winter Break rule?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here Comes Winter Break

In a few short days, we'll be into Winter Break. I'm left wondering where 2008 went. Over the holiday, I invite you to post your thoughts and stories as a response to this entry; after all, we won't get to see each other for two whole weeks.

If you're looking for something to do during the Break, here are some suggestions:
  • Students in grades 1-4 can storyboard for their animated GIFs. Use Paint, another graphics program, or just a pencil and paper to develop your character.
  • Students in 4/5 and 5/6 can begin researching for their major project.
  • Students in every grade should remember to get outside and DO something. Build a snowman (or lady). Make a fort. Eat some falling snowflakes. Your video game console and computer will be there when I get back, I promise.
I don't plan to post anything new until the end of Break (since I'll be in Nova Scotia getting married!). I will, however, respond to comments or questions.

Have a safe, happy, and restful break!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Enjoy Your PA Day!

Although I'm sure that you've got ways to entertain yourselves, here's some stuff to keep you busy during your long weekend:
See you Monday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

By Popular Demand: The Beaker Video (and random BG Technology updates)

video

Well folks, report cards go home Monday, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly appreciate the hard work of all the students from Mme Holden and Mme O'Hara's classes who successfully completed the massive, end-of-term, seven-page hardware test. Well done, everyone! A special word of congrats goes out to James P., who earned the highest mark in the entire school!

Now that first term's over, we're on to our software units...

  • The kindergarteners are learning how to use the basic functions of tool software, and touch-based learning tools.
  • The primary classes are starting to learn Notebook - the presentation software built especially for SMARTBoards interactive white boards.
  • The extended Primary/Junior classes (grade 2, 3, and 3-4 students who have a double period of computers every week) have started creating storyboards in advance of making animated GIFs.
  • The 4/5ers are finishing their Candy Computers, and will be moving on to a focused study of the basics of Photoshop Elements.
  • The 5/6ers are starting independent study units based on their interests and skills.

Long live the BG Geeks!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Candy Computers: Here We Come!

Could it be November already?

Just as quick as it began, first term has come to an end. Finishing touches are being put on projects, report cards are being written, and - if you happen to be in my grade four, five, or six classes - you have just completed a freakishly massive, online, seven-page, computer test.

Congratulations, little weasels; you learned a lot this term.

Mme. Holden's class will begin construction of their Candy Computers tomorrow, and Mme. O'Hara's class is right behind them - they are set to begin construction next week.

I'm proud of you, and I can't wait to post pictures of our build periods to the blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sick Brom

Dear beloved weasels,

I'm home sick, but I'm still thinking about our up and coming Candy Computer project...and I'm *so* excited!

While I recover at home from my nasty cold, you can pick ONE of the following two choices, and complete it during this computer period:

1. Respond to this blog post with three facts about the computer part that you learned about while completing the 'Climbing the Mountain' work sheet.
2. Explore the Beverly Glen Library Site, and respond to this blog post with the most interesting thing that you learned about today.

Once you've posted a response, you can have some free time to explore the Fun Links section of my blog.

If you don't understand my instructions, watch this video (please excuse the frog in my throat, and the screen resolution, I made this video, and went right back to bed!).

See you tomorrow!

Fondly,
Ms. B.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Operation Spaghetti

A new computer experiment has begun at Beverly Glen, and the code name for it is Operation Spaghetti. Eight grade six students are currently working on a project that will absolutely blow your mind.

You'll be let in on the secret during second or third term.

For now, make sure you listen to the announcements, and watch for signs at BG. Who knows? You may get a sneak-peak of awesome things to come.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Holden and O'Hara: The Candy Computer Unit

Learning is tricky business. One of the hardest parts, perhaps, is trying to remember facts and figures that seem to have no point. If a student is unable to see how subject matter relates to their life, learning can sometimes feel like cruel and unusual punishment. On the flip-side, any time a student is able to connect directly to the stuff they're studying in school, the experience can be life-changing.

This term in Computer Class, we're learning about hardware (that's any part of the computer that you can touch with your hands). The 4/5 and 5/6 classes are researching some of the inside-bits of the computers at school (CPU, motherboard, power source, sound and video cards, network card, RAM, and hard disk). At the end of our unit, we're going to connect the computers to our real lives by building computer models out of candy.

Now, since I teach a class called "Computers" (and not "Candy Eating for Kids") our main goal is feed our brains instead of our bellies. Candy Computer Construction will take place over one or two weeks in late October or early November. Each group of four or five will be "hired" to build a computer for my (imaginary) company, the Brom Corporation. The build teams will be given materials and instructions for minimum candy computer requirements (any team that eats all of their gummy spiders a.k.a. "case fans" will obviously lose marks!)

***

Info for Parents

Some of my students have asked if they can bring in candy of their own. As I would like to prevent a sugary-food-fest, please keep the following in mind: I have purchased enough "computer parts" for each group. If you would like to send your child with extras, here's what they can bring:
  • One box of graham crackers (that's what we're making the circiut boards out of)
  • White frosting - either in tub or tube form (to stick the parts together)
  • No more than five pieces of candy (five licorice or five M&Ms or five sour keys...you get the idea. Like I said before, our main goal is not to eat, but to build)

Any extras that your child brings with them will be sent home at the end of the build period.

More information about the project will be posted closer to the first build date, and photographs of the candy computers will be posted when we're finished. Questions, as always, can be posted here. I can also be contacted directly by phone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grade Five: The Human Body

Learning about health isn't just about medical diseases and conditions. It's about understanding yourself, your friends and family, and the world around you.
  1. Click on the picture to explore the Kids Health site.
  2. Reply to this post with a paragraph about something that you learned at the site about the heart or the lungs. (Note: This is for marks. You MUST write a reply.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Grade 5/6 English - Music and Technology

Today in class, we listened to several versions of Outkast's "Hey Ya". In addition to the original radio edit, we listened to:
  1. The MIDI version
  2. The We Will Rock You mashup version
  3. The lounge version
  4. The acoustic version

Each of these versions used the same basic melody, but they were each very different in mood, tempo, instrumentation, and dynamics.

Pick one of the four alternate versions of "Hey Ya". Using your best descriptive language, respond to this post, explaining how it was unique from the original radio edit. (Hint: Level 4 answers will compare the mood, tempo, instrumentation, and dynamics of the original radio edit and another version).

For a music glossary, go here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tech News: CERN and the Hadron Collider

C.E.R.N. is an acronym that stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Organization for Nuclear Research), and right now, CERN is doing big things. Very big things.

Over the past few years, CERN has been working with hundreds of universities and independent scientists from around the world to build a $16 billion machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, spanning the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground.

It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the building blocks of all things. It will completely change our understanding of the way matter works; from the teeny-tiny world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Here's how it works. The LHC looks sort of like a massive underground donut. When it's turned on, it uses huge magnets to shoot two beams of subatomic particles in opposite directions around the hollow inside of the donut. With each lap these particles travel, they move faster and faster. When the particles ram into eachother, they will be traveling at nearly the speed of light. (That's 299,792,458 metres per second!)

There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, and we're not quite sure what will happen when the scientists turn it on. To watch a short picture slideshow of CERN's LHC, checkout this video...

video

(Originally published by a youtuber, here). If this sounds cool to you, maybe you'll be a physicist or an engineer when you grow up. Aiming for good grades in math, science, and computers will get you there.

Welcome Back!

I don't know about you kids, but I'm very excited about today. I always loved September and getting back to school after such a long break. Even as a grown-up, I have problems sleeping during Labor Day Weekend because I'm just so pumped about starting class again.

For those of you who are curious about what we're going to focus on in the lab for the first little while; I've just put the finishing touches on the introductory units that we'll be working on during the first two months of school.

From kindergarten right on up to grade six, the focus is on microcomputer hardware. The bits of metal and plastic that make up the trusty machines that live in the lab, in our homes, and in businesses around the world. During first term, we'll sing songs, make models, watch videos, and have a great time learning about technology.

If you'd like a teeny preview of what's to come, check out this video (originally posted by a Youtuber called lipunkscene). It's a wonderful overview of the history of the computer that was made by a student. Honestly, I couldn't have said it better myself...

video

The original video can be found on Youtube.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Playstation3 is a Real FLOP!

When you hear the word 'flop', what do you think?

If a movie 'flops at the box office', it is not very popular. If Mr. Lockyer does a 'belly flop into the pool at Aurora Court Recreation Center', he has probably splashed a lot of people. If a political candidate 'flip-flops on an issue', she is not being clear on what she will do if she is elected.

Since I'm a computer geek, when I hear the word 'flop', I think about computers.

In computing, FLOPS (or flops or flop/s) is an acronym that means FLoating point Operations Per Second. The more flop/s a computer can do, the better it is at solving super-duper big math or science problems. A basic calculator, for example, can do somewhere around 10 flop/s. This means that it can do ten mathmatical calculations in one second. A Playstation3 (which, of course, is a computer) can do many, MANY flop/s. For this reason, it is not unknown for scientists to buy a few hundred PS3 systems, hook them together, and have them solve huge math calculations.

One computer recently smashed the flop/s record by operating at more than 1 petaflop/s (if you were to read that out loud, you'd say 'more than one petaflop per second'). So, how much is a petaflop?

Peta is the same as a quadrillion. No, that's not a made up number. It is the same as a million billion, and it looks like this:

1 000 000 000 000 000.

That's right. There is a computer out there that can do a petaflop in a second. This computer is called the IBM Roadrunner. Read about it here. The words are big, but you don't need to understand every word to understand the article. Stick with it, sound out the big words, and use clues from the text to figure out what they mean. If you get really curious, you can always Google>"define:word" (remember not to put a space between the colon and the word you want defined).

Want to have some fun learning about large numbers? Surf on over to Math Cats or go to Google, type, "really big numbers", and check out some of the results. If you're really good at searching, why don't you try to find out how many flop/s your favorite gaming console can do? Which is faster: a Wii, a PS3, or a 360?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Term One Sneak Peek: Name that Thing!

A motherboard is the large circuit board that everything else plugs into. It lives inside your computer's case. It carries the electrical information between the various parts of a computer as the machine processes information. This is a motherboard (click on the picture to enlarge it, hit the back button on your Internet browser window to return to the blog):

Motherboards look really complicated, and it's true - they are marvels of modern technology. Fortunately, you are brilliant kids...so teaching you French Immersion 4/5's and 5/6'ers about their parts during first term should be easy as a snap.

For those of you who feel the need to put your brains to work over the summer, I have a task for you. Every so often this summer, I am going to post a question. You have all summer and the entire first week of school to think about possible answers. I will offer a surprise to all BG students who can correctly answer any of the questions (even if you happen to be a brainy, little, primary kid from the first floor).


So. Question number one.

Every motherboard - in your computer, in your Wii, in whatever - has a type of part on it that looks like a little cylinder. In fact, most motherboards have many of these little things all over them. They look like little pop cans. Their job is to receive and store charges of electricity - sort of like little batteries.
You can see them in both of this post's pictures. What are the pop-can-looking things on the motherboard called?



Graffiti Snails Roaming London

The following article was originally published here. I thought it was cool, and wanted to share. Hope you're all having a wonderful summer!
***
Most people have to shell out to give their homes a makeover – not so for these multi-coloured molluscs. The flashy snails have had their drab shells given a paint job for nothing – and they didn't even have to move a muscle.
A London artist, known only as Slinkachu, has used the molluscs' shells for a series of designs dubbed 'Inner City Snail – a slow-moving street'.
One was given a graffiti-style urban revamp complete with a new name – John – spelt out across its shell. Another had the Tube logo ["Tube" is the name the people of London, England gave their subway system] painted on as well as acquiring a couple of unexpected passengers.
Slinkachu was keen to point out that non-toxic paints were used. The 28-year-old said: 'No snails were harmed – they just had their homes vandalised.'
And, with their long lifespan, don't be too surprised to see a brightly-coloured snail making its way down a street near you. In a previous project, Little People, Slinkachu photographed tiny plastic figures apparently going about their lives in the capital, from Tube travel to sightseeing. He left many of the figures dotted around the capital for their larger, human equivalents to discover.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Post For Parents: Get Outside!

During our video game unit, the French immersion junior students learned a very important thing; the Wii video game system may be an excellent console - but it is nothing compared to actually getting out of the house and doing things.

To support this nugget of wisdom, I would like to present www.unplugyourkids.com - a site for parents that focuses on low tech children's activities.

"But, Roxy...", I hear you saying.
"Don't you spend 23.9 hours a day in front of a computer?"

While I could definately be defined as a computer over-clocker (someone who spends waaaaay too much time with technology), during the summer I usually branch out and try new things. If I happen to have a camera handy, I'll post photos.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Came Quickly

You made it, my darlings. Congratulations to everyone on a successful year, especially to the graduating sixers.

This is a brief post, aimed at anyone planning on hanging out on the blog between now and September.
  1. I have begun updating the blog for summer. This update may include editing my list of suggested webpages. You should probably bookmark any sites you really like, in case I take down some of the older ones.
  2. Usually I post things for class on the blog. Since I don't teach in the summer (darn!), this blog will be a kid-friendly meeting place; where you can read and talk about technology.
  3. Feel free to respond to posts with comments and questions throughout the summer. You can even offer suggestions for post topics. This goes for parents, friends, and random web surfers as well!
  4. During July and August, I will continue to moderate all comments. This means that I will read each comment that is made before it is published to the web. After you click 'publish your comment', the thing that you wrote will sit in my Blogger inbox until I either publish it or reject it. I will not publish comments if they: Include last names; include inappropriate language; or include a message that says, 'please do not publish this - it is private'.
Ayez de bonnes vacances tout le monde !
Have a good vacation everybody!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grades 4-6: Instant Messenger!? ORLY.

The word 'collaboration' (pronounced co-lab-or-eh-shun) is a fancy-schmancy word for 'working together'. Today, the junior classes collaborated to add to our video game survey questions (see previous post). The coolest part of how we collaborated: we worked together online using an instant messenger program. Instant messenging is a big deal because it is used in many fields of work, play, and study. Windows Live Messenger aka MSN, G-Talk, AIM, SKYPE, and others are installed on literally millions of computers around the world. When you (or anybody) joins a chat via instant messenger, it is important to remember a few simple rules. They are posted here for your reading enjoyment...
  1. Do not verbally abuse, attack, embarrass, or threaten anyone else in the chat, no matter what they might say to you. Ignore them, leave the chat, or tell an adult/moderator. Remember: Mean things that you type to other people could stay on the internet, attached to your name, forever.
  2. Sorta the same as the first rule: Do not use obscene or offensive language.
  3. Never type your messages in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Typing with your capslock on makes it seem like you are yelling. If you want to *emphasize* a word or phrase, simply type an asterisk (shift + 8) in before and then directly after your word or phrase. This is a widely recognized way to get your point across without being rude.
  4. When you are entering a group messenge session (more than two people talking to each other in Messenger), you should always greet everyone whether you know them or not. Be sure to wait until there is a lull in the conversation already in progress, though. Don't interrupt. And, when someone else enters the room, you should make it a point to at least recognize their presence and greet them with a friendly "Hi (their screen name)!"
  5. Don't speak unless you know what the conversation is about first. And, when you *do* get a chance to talk, stay on topic! Typing random characters or thoughts is never a good idea. Keep messages short and to the point (besides, if you wanted to write something massive, you'd put it in an email, blog entry, FB note, LJ post, etc.) And of course, never interrupt.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grades 4-6: The Video Game Unit

During our final unit of the 07/08 school year, we have begun exploring the benefits (good things) and drawbacks (bad things) about video games.

This unit is five classes long, and includes the following topics: the history of video gaming (from 1972 to the present), video gaming in the media, video gaming among BG junior students, recent research and satistics, and healthy video game suggestions.

To complete the unit, we will: Make an online survey, watch some youtube films, read current online news articles and research from international sourccs, play video games, have a multi-class debate, and build a simple website with our findings.

As discussed in class, please post suggestions for survey questions to this blog entry.
Yes, this post will count toward a mark for your report card. If you're confused, as always, you can contact me through TEL.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Computer Club: Media and Reality

Reality is a noun referring to anything that is real. An event that has actually happened, or a noun that really exists is said to have "reality."

But what is reality, really?

A lot of people believe that reality is made up of truth and fact. The word 'truth' comes from the Old English 'tríewþ', and had to do with belief and faith. The word 'fact', on the other hand, derives from the Latin 'factum', and meant, "a thing done or performed".

Who we are influences our reality - what we believe to be true and factual. Can you think of any examples of how YOUR reality influences what you think?
Read what blogger Robin LaFevers has to say about Fact and Truth.

Let's use the Internet to see an example of how perspective can change how you view reality. We're going to watch two short videos that have different perspectives. One was produced by a major television station, the other was produced by a major website.
Are both of those 'real' views of the planet? Which is more 'real'?
How does perspective alter reality?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grade Six: Science Project Instructions

Each project must include the following;
  1. Introduction: How will you introduce your topic to the class? What will your 'hook' be? How will you get us excited about what we are going to learn about?
  2. Talk: How will you describe your topic to the group? What visuals will you use (costumes, videos, online activities, etc)?
  3. Hands-On Section: Who will cary out the hands-on portion of your presentation? Will it be a teacher, a student, a small group of people, or everyone? What materials will you need? (be SPECIFIC!) Will you need visual aids?
  4. Review: How will you review your topic? (Will you use a game? A quiz? A blog post?) If you're going to ask questions, what questions will you ask? If you're going to do a game, will you require prizes?

While you answer the questions above, remember: You are writing a presentation outline, not a script. This excercise is not about memorizing what words your going to use, it's about understanding your topic.

I'll be around this weekend should you have any questions.

roxy.bromley@tel.tdsb.on.ca

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grade Six: Sigur Rós - Glósóli

video

Glósóli (pronounced “glow-soul-ih”) means Glowing Soul in Icelandic.

Lyrics - Icelandic

Nú vaknar þú Allt virðist vera breytt Eg gægist út En er svo ekki neitt Ur-skóna finn svo A náttfötum hún I draumi fann svo Eg hékk á koðnun? Með sólinni er hún Og er hún, inni hér En hvar ert þú...Legg upp í göngu Og tölti götuna Sé ekk(ert) út Og nota stjörnurnar Sit(ur) endalaust hún Og klifrar svo út. Glósóli-leg hún Komdu út Mig vaknar draum-haf Mitt hjartað, slá Ufið hár.Sturlun við fjar-óð Sem skyldu-skrá. Og hér ert þú...Fannst mér...Og hér ert þú Glósóli...Og hér ert þú Glósóli...Og hér ert þú Glósóli...Og hér ert þú

Lyrics - English (translation)

Now that you're awake / Everything seems different / I look around / But there's nothing at all / Put on my shoes, I then find that / She is still in her pyjamas / Then found in a dream / I'm hung by (an) anticlimax / She is with the sun / And it's out here / But where are you? / Go on a journey / And roam the streets / Can't see the way out / And so use the stars / She sits for eternity / And then climbs out / She's the glowing sun / So come out I awake from a nightmare / My heart is beating / Out of control... / I've become so used to this craziness / That it's now compulsory / And here you are... / I'm feeling... / And here you are, Glowing sun... / And here you are, Glowing sun... / And here you are, Glowing sun... / And here you are...

Glosoli was originally played during our discussion of color psychology (color's ability to change moods) when we were trying to figure out what song we were going to use for our Spring Concert presentation.

This clip is posted here by popular demand. To see the entire video, follow this link.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Computer Club: Introduction to Memes

A meme (pronounced "meem") is a unit of cultural knowledge that is passed from person to person. Good examples of memes are folk music, jokes, nursery rhymes, chain letters, recipes, fashions, slang, etc.
Often, memes are transmitted - or sent - from person to person with oral language. When memes are transmitted over the Internet, they pop up in all sorts of places: in email forwards, on video-sharing sites, and on message boards.
Internet memes are started when one person finds something funny and posts it online. Other people find it funny, and send it to their friends and family members. Eventually, someone changes the original image or video using editing software...and before you know it, there are tons and tons of images and videos inspired by the original posting. Memes usually get boring after a while, just like any fad. Fortunately, the Internet is always full of new memes.


Follow the links below to check out the Dramatic Chipmunk meme.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Grades 4-6: Editing Photos Online

Picture editing is fun and easy. All you need is a digital image and a program or application to edit it with. Sometimes, however, it can be expensive. Premium editions of Photoshop and other editors can cost hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, there are tons of online editors that are free and easy to use.

By the end of today's class, you will:
1. Experiment with online editors.
2. Upload an image to an editor.
3. Edit the image.
4. Print.

I have saved images for you to use into the student share folder (Beverly Glen Junior Public School>1110Stu>Bromley>PhotoEditing). Grade six students should use images in the sub-folder.

Try these:
http://pixenate.com
http://www.lunapic.com/editor/
http://www.picnik.com/ *This one is great!*
http://pixer.us/
http://www.cellsea.com/media/index.htm


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REGISTER FOR THESE APPLICATIONS TO WORK. NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR NAME OR EMAIL ADDRESS!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grade Six: Schoolhouse Rock


Way back in the 1970s an American guy by the name of Tom Yohe created a series of fifty-two videos to help kids understand school stuff (including American history, money, math, science, and grammar). This awesomely out-dated group of videos is called Schoolhouse Rock. Ask your parents about them - because if they loved Saturday Morning Cartoons like I did, they'll remember watching Schoolhouse Rock on TV when they were little. Anyhow, you'll appreciate these films because they're funny, they're catchy, and they will help you remember parts of speech for the EQAO test (which, I will remind you, is 34 days away).

Watch the Schoolhouse Rock Grammar videos on Youtube:
Respond to this post with definitions of the following (don't forget to include your first name!):
  1. Adjective
  2. Adverb
  3. Conjunction
  4. Interjection
  5. Verb
  6. Noun
  7. Preposition
  8. Subject and Predicate
All of the answers are in the videos. This online assignment is due on Monday, April 28th. Yes, this is for report card marks. Questions and concerns, as always, can be directed to me in person or via email.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grades 4-6: The Human Body

Learning about health isn't just about medical diseases and conditions. It's about understanding yourself, your friends and family, and the world around you.
  1. Click on the picture to explore the Kids Health site.
  2. Reply to this post with a paragraph about something that you learned at the site. (Note: This is for marks. You MUST write a reply.)

Mlle. Holden's Class: Once you're finished the bullying survey, you may visit this site. This will take the entire class. Use your headphones to listen to the sound. If you don't have headphones, you may use the speakers on your monitors. Be respectful of others, and keep the volume down.

Mlle. Kerr's Class: You may turn your sound on, but remember to keep it low. Once you've posted a paragraph, you may work on other assignments. Grade Fives: Do not play games or go on youtube today. Grade Sixers: If you choose to play games, you may only play the ones on the EQAO page that I made for you (look at the post below).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Grade Six: EQAO Links Page

This links page took me hours to build. During your computer period on Wednesday, March 26th, you will have the entire class to explore the links.
Check it out, and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Welcome Back!

Ah, March Break. Time to kick back, relax, and wait for school to start up again. If you're anything like I was when I was little, you really missed school. I'll be interested to hear about your adventures. During the first computer class of third term, feel free (grades 4-6) to respond to this post with a quick paragraph about your break. I'll start us off by posting a paragraph of my own as an example.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Grades 4 - 6: Computer Funnies

The first student who can explain this cartoon by posting a response to this blog entry will win a prize (click to enlarge). Good luck!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Computer Club: Strange Police Chase GIF

Smooth animation, strange chase.
Great GIF, made from news footage.

Grades 4 - 6: The Frog Round

I recently found a really cool poem, and I wanted to share it. It's author is unknown (that's why it's signed 'Anon' - short for 'Anonymous').

Frog Round

What a queer bird the frog are:
When he sit he stand (almost);
When he walk he fly (almost);
When he talk he cry (almost);
He ain't got no sense (hardly);
He ain't got no tail, either (hardly);
He sit on what he ain't got (hardly).

- Anon

***
If you're in the Typing Practice group, answer the following questions in this post's comments section. When you're finished, you may either read and respond to other posts, or go to All the Right Type.

  1. The author says when frogs walk they "fly (almost)". What does that mean?
  2. What do you think the author means when he says that when frogs talk they "cry (almost)"?
  3. The author uses brackets for the last word on almost every line. Why do you think he does that?
  4. There are many different meanings for the word 'queer'. What does the author mean when he says that frogs are queer birds?
  5. The Frog Round is definately a poem. But why? If you could define the word "poem", how would you define it? Is Frog Round a good poem? Why or why not? Use quotations or examples from the poem to back up your answer.
  6. Write your own froggy poem. This page is FULL of examples of poem types.
***
If you're in the Free Time group, read and respond to at least one blog post. After you've finished that, you MUST use your computer period to complete unfinished work (speech arts, writing projects, weekly emails, animated GIFs, etc).

Finished?!
  • Grade Six: Visit the EQAO Parent Resource Website and check out the Sample Individual Student Report (Junior Division). Read the information you find there, and send me a friendly email about what you've learned.
  • Grade Five: See me.
***
If you're in the SMARTBoard group, try out these games: Word Frog, Leap Frog, Letter Chomp, Froggyville Game Central. Make sure that you share your time evenly among the members of your group...watch the clock!
***
If you're in the Marvelous Mystery group, come out into the Library to meet with Ms. Bromley for a few minutes. Then, grab yourself a set of headphones and watch this while trying the music activities below:

  • For each part, get so that you can hear it continuously (hearing it as separate from the rest)
  • For each phrase in the piece (a phrase can be any unit you choose, two measures long or less), learn to hear it in whichever part has it at the time (so that your attention is bouncing around)
  • Learn to direct your attention to any of the four parts at will, so that you can change your attention whenever you choose
  • Get so that you can focus your attention on any two parts at the same time (so that you hear those parts as separate from the rest)
  • If you know how to recognize intervals, hear the progression of intervals between any two parts
  • When you're following two parts, learn to shift your visual focus back and forth
  • Tap with a finger (or, if you're following two parts, two fingers) on the notes as they happen
  • Sing along with parts that are in your range
  • Sing along with any part (moving it into your range as necessary)
  • Tap the rhythm of one part while singing another part

Does seeing the music help you hear the parts better? Does tapping your foot or finger help you hear the parts better? Why or why not? Prove your answer by giving examples from the activities you just tried.
***



Art activities you can try on your own:
Online nature exhibits:
Frog Round fan posts:
  • Two girls attempt their own version of the Frog Round on Youtube.
  • An unknown artist posts his or her version of Frog Round on YTMND.

Grade 6: Media Literacy

The cereal boxes are finished and they look wonderful! Now, for our next step, we will create commercials to advertise them. We're going to watch a few commercials to see how they're made. After we watch them, answer the following questions by responding to this blog post.
  1. Summarize the commercial.
  2. What is the cereal's mascot? What does he or she do during the commercial?
  3. Is there a picture of the product? Does it look the same or different than in real life? Does it look bigger or better than it does in real life? Why do you think that is?
  4. How do the children in the commercial look? Are they happy?
  5. What sound effects or music does the commercial use? Do the sounds make it more exciting?
  6. Are there any prizes or special offers discussed by the characters or narrator of your commercial?
  7. Why do you think that the commercial has been created in cartoon?
Members of Team Tackle Crunch will focus on Lucky Charms.
Members of Team Super Crunch will focus on Rice Krispies.
Members of Team Sporty Crunch will focus on Frosted Flakes.
Members of Team Crunchy Goodness will focus on Cocoa Puffs.

***
Once you've watched the commercials and answered the questions, work with your group members to storyboard a commercial for your cereal. To see an example, click to enlarge.
Remember: If you'd like your commercial posted online, you absolutely, positively...
  • Must have a media release.
  • Must NOT include anything in your commercial that shows anything above your neck.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Grades 1-2: Stick Figures

Today, we're going to use Notebook to edit digital stick figures. By the end of the lesson, we will have practiced some cool stuff that you were not able to do at the beginning of the year: Isolating and viewing an image online; Copying and pasting an image from the internet into SMART Notebook; Editing an image using tool software; Saving a new file into a personal folder; and Selecting an appropriate networked printer to create a hardcopy.

Click on the stick person to view him full-sized, copy and paste him into a notebook file, and give him a little personality! What do you think his hair should look like? What is he wearing? What is he standing on? What is he looking at? Don't forget to print him out when you're finished so that you can hang him on the Wall.

Grades 3-6: World Book Online

The students of BG have the opportunity to try World Book Online, an electronic encyclopedia, free for the next few days.
  1. Surf on over to www.worldbookonline.com
  2. Enter the userID (canada) and the password (stars)
  3. Comment on this post to let me know what you think. Is it an encyclopedia that is worth buying a subscription to? Would you use it for research? What did you like about it? What didn't you like?

Technical Update: BG Students May Now Post Comments

Blogging is the act of writing an online journal. It's a lot like the journals that some of you write for school or at home. While blogs and journals both record thoughts, feelings, and events; a blog is meant to be public, and a journal is (generally) meant to be private. By reading this blog, you are joining hundreds of others who also read it - for information, entertainment, or curiosity. Since blogs are public, it makes sense that readers should be able to respond to posts that they read. But...how should comments sound? What is the polite way to leave a comment to a post? These questions are all related to something called netiquette - the rules that tell us what's polite and what's not on the Internet.

Here's a summary of polite ways to comment on a blog post:
  • Don't use all caps. THAT MAKES PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU'RE SHOUTING!
  • Use proper grammar, check your spelling, and avoid "txt tlk" (or, "text talk" - which is basically a type of shorthand used when people text message each other on phones). Othrwize ppl wil thnk u cnat spel!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  • Be polite.
  • Stick to the topic being discussed.
  • Always remember: your comment could be online forever! Don't write something online that you might regret later!
  • Be patient. If you cannot view your comment right away, the blog may have a delay for one reason or another. Comments are usually posted within 24 hours.
  • NEVER post personal information! Posting your last name, street or email address, phone number, or school information is a REALLY bad idea. Don't do it. Ever.
The brilliant people at the University of Western Ontario have made an even more detailed summary of netiquette. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Congratulations to Lara: She was the first person to post a comment to the Brom Blog!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mlle Kerr's Class: Martian Snow and Overdue Work

What a class! After reading over details about the Science Centre programs that we have the opportunity to take part in for our class trip (date to be announced), we made a chart on the SMARTBoard to help us decide which option seemed to be the best (click on the chart to enlarge).
After taking a vote, we decided that the "Solar System Revealed" session looked the best. Now all we have to decide is whether or not we are going to see the Omnimax film about Mars that'll be playing on the day of our trip.


A quick note to students with overdue work:
Essays must include...

  1. Name, date, and title
  2. Three facts from the Science Centre website regarding our trip (these facts could be about the program, costs, film, lunch room, arrival/departure times, or exhibit halls)
  3. Why you're excited about the trip: What's exciting? Why is it exciting? (Note: simply writing "I'm looking forward to learning about Mars because Mars is cool" is NOT an acceptable statement. But, of course, we already talked about this. :)

All overdue work is to be submitted to the Green Monster in the Lab (pictured below) *before* your next computer class. Feed him your homework as soon as you can so that you can move on to learning other fun stuff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mlle Kerr's Class: Blast Off to Awesome Town

The week before last, you researched, typed, and handed in persuasive essays suggesting locations for a cool class trip. To get an A on your paper, you had to:
  • Write your essay in Microsoft Word
  • Include the date
  • Include a title
  • Include the Web address of your class trip suggestion
  • Include the cost
  • Explain how your class trip suggestion could be connected to the things that we're studying in school
Now that I've counted up your well-written suggestions, I am pleased to announce that we will be going here to study space, and more specifically, Mars.

Today, we will decide on which program we'd like to have during our visit to the Science Centre. We will also talk about what we know (or what we think we know) about Mars. Finally, we will start to learn a little about the Red Planet through online research.

**********
Here are our program choices:
  1. Exhibit Hall Visit PLUS Two Hour Program: Space Mission Simulation (about $15/student)
  2. Exhibit Hall Visit PLUS Forty-Five Minute Program: Destination Space (about $10/student)
  3. Exhibit Hall Visit PLUS Forty-Five Minute Program: Solar System Revealed (about $10/student)
  • We can add the fifty-minute Omnimax film (Roving Mars) to our trip for about $6/student.
Follow the links to learn about the programs. We will discuss the positives and negatives about each program after you've had a chance to read about them.

**********


Mlle Holden's Class: Researching Topics Online

**********UPDATED: Links Fixed! **********
Mlle. Holden's students are nearing the end of the research phase of their Speech Arts projects. Many students have only a few facts left to gather. To help you through this process, I have collected some websites that may help. These sites are sorted by topic below. If you can't find what you're looking for, you could always search Google Kids.

Before you get started, there are two things you need to remember:
  • Don't copypasta! Write your notes in your own words to avoid plagiarism, and write down the web address where you got your information!
  • While I will always try my best to provide you with kid-friendly sites, surfing the Web is like walking around a really big city - and certain parts of cities are not always great for brilliant young adults like you. If you surf onto an inappropriate website by accident, use your net-smarts: leave the site, and tell an adult.
Amazing Animals and Awful Animal Cruelty
National Geographic – Creature Feature
World Wildlife Fund – Endangered Species
Zoobooks – Animal Directory
Wikipedia – Octopus
TONMO – Octopus News Magazine
Family Education – Vegetarian Kids

Youth Noise – Facts About Animal Cruelty
Buzzle – Animal Cruelty

Awesome American Election Process
Ben’s Guide – The Election Process for Kids
Library of Congress – Elections The American Way

Cool Cities and Countries
Wikipedia – Quebec City
QuebecWeb - Quebec City
Ville De Quebec – About
United Nations - Country at a Glance (takes a second to load)
Government of Canada - Cultural Profiles Project
Fact Monster - Countries of the World

Famous Figures
Disney Channel - Hanna Montana
Wikipedia – Hanna Montana
Scholastic – Geronimo Stilton
Wikipedia – Geronimo Stilton
BBC – Mona Lisa
Louvre – A Closer Look at the Mona Lisa

Marvelous Medieval Times
4th and 5th Grade Students - Medieval Quest
4th and 5th Grade Students - Life in the Middle Ages
Horace Mann Middle School – Medieval Islamic Cultures

Spectacular Sports
Exploratorium – Skateboard Science
Private Site - Skateboard Dictionary
X-Village – Skateboarding 101
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Skateboard Safety
Historica Minutes – Basketball
(You’ll need to turn your sound on to hear the video. If you’re in the Computer Lab, ask for permission first!)
Naismith Museum and Hall of Fame – James Naismith
Exploratorium – The Science of Hockey
Musée de la civilisation - Mad About Hockey

Terrific Technology
Tekmom - Technology Buzzwords
How Stuff Works – Computers

Twisty Tornadoes and Spectacular Shooting Stars
National Severe Storms Laboratory – Tornadoes: Nature’s Most Violent Storms
Federal Emergency Management Agency – Tornadoes
World Almanac for Kids – Comets
BBC – Comets
Amazing Space – Famous Comets


Monday, February 18, 2008

Just For Fun: A Two Second Tour of the B.G. Lab

Our second floor Computer Lab is one of a handful of self-contained rooms at Beverly Glen – a mostly open concept school. While the back wall of the lab is typical painted cinderblock, the two side walls are made of magnetic paneling and the front is walled in giant sheets of glass. Students in the lab are able to look out into BG’s huge, multi-lingual Library.

Our Lab houses twenty five desktop PCs, a SMARTBoard, and a high-capacity printer…plus a few plants and a tank with about thirty well-fed Giant African Millipedes. Our overflow area contains four iMacs and one PC on wheels (for large-group presentations).

The 'Technology Tree', which can be seen on one of the Lab's windows, is covered in leaves that display student work. Each leaf depicts one technological item that we use in our everyday lives. Almost every student, from kindergarten to grade six, created a leaf. Our tree's branches are heavy with the work of hundreds of tech-savvy kids!

Each class in the school has a section of magnetic wall to call their own - this is where student work is hung and special announcements are made. There is always something new to see in the Lab, computer-generated art is constantly put up and taken down. The neatest parts about the class boards are the picture clips: Each child has their own picture attached to a magnetic clothes peg. Work that they can be proud of is always hung with their personal magnet. This way, the entire school can celebrate individual success. At the end of the year, each student will get to take home their photo-magnet (hey, parents! I'll bet these photo-magnets would look really cool on your fridge doors at home!)

There is always tons to see and do at the BG Computer Lab. Make an appointment, come by, and visit us sometime!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Computer Club: Animated GIFs

An animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file is a graphic image on a Web page that moves - for example, a twirling icon or a banner with a hand that waves or letters that magically get larger. They are frequently used in Web advertisement banners.

All animated GIFs have the file extension ".gif". This means that, when the files are saved, the computer automatically adds ".gif" to the end of the file name. For example, if I named a file "bunnycarrot", it would be saved as "bunnycarrot.gif"

Still image files contain only one picture. Animated GIF files contain a set of images that are presented in a specified order. These images can either loop endlessly or they can have action that stops at the end of a picture sequence, telling a miniature story.

While Java, Flash, and other tools can be used to achieve the same effects as an animated GIF, animated GIFs are generally easier to create than comparable images with Java or Flash and usually smaller in size (thus faster to display).

Click on the still image above to see the animated GIF version. Press the back button to return to this page.