(notes by Mary Villa)

Lesson 10- Naming Sketches, Starting Scripts

We went over this lesson by showing the children a script and naming it. We discuss about how important it is to name each script because later it will get confusing. If you name your script it won’t get so confusing because each day the story gets longer and you are adding more and more scripts. We also discussed about the all scripts panel. It was very useful for the children.

We allowed the children to work on their story and trouble shoot and we walked around helping where needed.

Just heard the two-part NPR story on Waveplace’s XO and Etoys pilot in Immokalee, Florida. Have a listen here.

Pretty surreal hearing myself on national radio. I’m a bit disappointed that Etoys got characterized as clumsy … the alligator thing was from one of our advanced lessons for the adults. I imagine someone watching a person learn guitar for the first time would also think it clumsy. Great quotes from Christa and Susan.

Photos from the pilot are here. Video is here.

(notes by Jane)

In Attendance: Christa, Katey, Mary, Russell, Jane

Hats off to Christa! She did a great job last class, reviewing scripts, naming sketches, etc. Then she also covered new material from Lesson 10. Although she did a great job, most of the kids I worked with didn’t seem to grasp all of it.

Therefore, I did a lot of reviewing: duplicating, repainting, renaming sketches, making scripts to race the sketches, using the random tile. I also emphasized the importance of naming sketches and scripts.

Because this was a review, I knew some kids would be bored, so I talked a little bit about Junior Mentors. Alejandro, Maria Perez and Jonathan Garcia all finished quickly and helped children who were struggling. I was so proud of them.

When it was time to review “Start Over” scripts. I gave them a little pep talk about asking for help and not being afraid of making mistakes. Then I told them that even I needed to brush up on “Start Over” scripts and that Katey (our star) had agreed to help me if I got stuck.

I also introduced the term “Flaps” and demonstrated how useful they are.

Once the children had completed their races, I asked them to leave them on their screens and then walk around to see what other kids had done.

For the last 15 minutes of class, I talked about my story. I explained the words discrimination, symbolism and personification and then I read my story to them.

For homework, I asked them to decide what their story would be about and get started writing it in the “Write” program or on paper.

I think the class went well.

(Naples Daily News interviewed teachers and students and took pictures.)

In Attendance: Christa, Jane, Katey, Mary

Today went well!  Behavior & understanding is getting better each session.

We started off with the Starfish Challenge homework sharing:  They could share any progress they made over the weekend.

We worked on Lesson 10 & reviewed writing scripts.

  1. Discuss why we are here. I gave a little motivational speech about how they were chosen for the pilot.
  2. Students picked a student from their team to share what they accomplished over the weekend.
  3. We discussed procedures, rules, and troubleshooting computer problems.
  4. Reviewed naming sketches
  5. Created multiple characters for a race.  We chose to do this together to show how you write scripts for each character.
  6. We went back and forth in an “I do, you do” fashion for each mini lesson.
  7. We taught them how to Use All Scripts in the Tool Box.
  8. We switched gears for the second half and work on Storytelling.
  9. I told a story about my life: My 5th birthday and my cat, Ralph.
  10. We discussed telling stories about our lives
  11. We opened our Writing Journal for the day wrote about the days lesson &  began a list of personal stories to tell.
  12. For homework they were to add to their story list and work on writing their scripts for their characters from the day’s lesson.
    They worked hard and enjoyed the Storytelling segment.  They are excited to tell a story about their life using the characters they have made!

(notes by Susan)

In attendance: Christa, Mary, Jane, Katey, Susan, Donna, Russell

Squeak Day 6 for kids. Day 8 for adults. Here’s to keeping just ahead of the kids! I thoroughly enjoyed joining the group for the lesson. My goal is to be available at least once a week and more often if my day job permits or if someone can’t make it.

The increase in the skills of the kids was quite noticeable after being away for two lessons. I am sure it is harder for Christa, Jane and Mary to see this but I did! We began with a share session. I would say that about 8-10 students did the challenge homework of drawing a window and something looking out of it. Can’t emphasize enough about making each object its own sketch. A quick pre-class discussion led us to hold off on world startOver scripts and take a bit of time creating a potential storybook scene. Our goal was to make a complete scene in a storybook page and make it quickly! Each teacher took a minute to draw an item (kids with laptops spun around and watching). We did a “ping pong” approach and let the kids watch one teacher draw one item and then quickly draw it themselves. We did this for a house (naming the sketch), some grass (reviewing duplicating, resizing and recoloring to get various shades of green and sized of grass), a flower, a bug. Each time we stopped and let the kids work and timed them with Christa’s timer. In a short time we had very proud, engaged kids and relaxed adults. We used the webcam to show some of the kids creations on the big screen. Christa took a few short videos to save and show later.

We now have sketches that we can use for the race script and will introduce random during this piece. Teachers discussed using next week to review scripting and start the storybooks. We talked about using the three days during week of June 30 to teach animation.

Since I was not assigned a group I was able to move around and clean up some potential problems. I found many double books open. I noticed that kids were moving sketches up to a corner of a page to get them out of the way (the world page) instead of right clicking and putting it in the trash. A common problem was the page header of the storybook. I kept getting displaced or duplicated until we weren’t sure what was what. I found that if you try to turn the page of the storybook header and nothing happens that it is safe to use the halo to delete it. I think that teachers ought to “get themselves into trouble” and model getting out so that the kids know that the first solution is not to shutdown or start over on a new page.

In attendance: Christa, Katey, Mary V., Donna, Jane and Teddy

  1. The Bethel projector is still broken so we set up the room in 4 U-shaped table teams with the projector we brought facing the back wall.
  2. Although Christa and I brought extra power cords, it didn’t seem to be an issue because we are now having all the “forgot to charge kids” sit at one table.  Hopefully, this will encourage them to remember to charge.
  3. I did lessons 7, 8 and 9 today.  The students seemed to do well.  Mary will teach 10 and 11 on Thursday.
  4. One super helpful thing was that we required the students to turn their entire computer around while I was demonstrating new material.  They paid attention!  Katey had some good feedback.  She said that on Monday she had to reteach each skill to practically every child at her table.  Today she barely had to explain the new skills to anyone.
  5. I completely agree with Christa on the Team Teaching experience.  Feel free to come up and grab the mic. if something needs to be shared that was forgotten etc.  It will not hurt our feelings!!  Also, just yell it out.  “Jane could you demonstrate on your computer how to write Lesson 7 and Keep it.” 
  6. Also on the Team Teaching, it might be helpful to address the teachers when saying “We’re going to work on this activity for 2 more minutes, and then everyone needs to turn their computer around.”
  7. Setting ground rules on Chat, Cell Phone Use, Attendance, and Respect definitely made a difference with behavior management.  Great job everyone*!*
  8. We had several visitors today, Sinclair of One By One Leadership, Dick Hailer of One By One Leadership and Dick’s student Carl, of Ave Maria.  Also, we had County Comissioner, Jim Coletta, who took a few minutes to talk to the students.
  9. We are still working to firm up a date for an event at the end of the program.  Hopefully, Thursday, July, 31, 2008.
  10. We used the Write program for a group Learning Journal today.  Students can copy what the teacher writes or write their own words based on their confidence and skill level.  A student at Mary’s table did an outstanding job synopsizing what we had learned.  Mary read it aloud so the other students could appreciate it.
  11. At the beginning of class we encouraged the students to travel around their table and see what other students had done for homework.  I had them do this again after approximately one hour followed by a “celebration cheer.”  Is there some other stretching song? Or cheer that children this age would like?
  12. Using Power Point between the Squeak lessons, as Christa did yesterday, seemed to work out well.
  13. I will have a Starfish incentive for the kids by Monday.
  14. Any suggestions or ideas about anything we can improve or try?Thanks to everyone!!!! 

Waveplace has finished its beta “Squeaky Tales” courseware … 30 lessons (with videos) that teach how to teach Etoys on the XO. To see examples, or to become a beta tester, visit here

We took everything we learned in our first pilot (in the Virgin Islands) and started completely over. The pacing is much better, as is the storytelling component, which was crucial in St John. We’re using the beta courseware in our three pilots this summer, and will then start completely over and make a physical textbook and DVD series (in English, Spanish, and French). All will be sold at cost for physical materials. (We’re a non-profit.)

In other news, we finished our intensive teacher workshop last week in Immokalee, Florida. The teachers are very enthusiastic. For the next two months, they’ll be using the courseware to teach 42 children, each of whom received their very own XO last week. Larry Abramson from NPR spent a day with us, listening as we taught the teachers and later the children.

Lastly, we’ve just finished prep work for our 4th pilot … this time on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua in a school that currently has no electricity. If all goes well, we’ll be starting that pilot in mid-July. When this pilot finishs, Waveplace will have given both XOs and training to more than 100 children and 20 teachers.

For more on the Immokalee and Nicaragua pilots, or to hear about our Haiti pilot, read the current issue of our newsletter, visit here.

You can also subscribe to it by visiting here.

In attendance: Christa, Katey, Jane, Mary V., Ted, Russell, Nicole

Monday was our first day without our new Waveplace friends. We used the day to review LESSONS 5 & 6 because we knew that the kids would need a refresher from the week before.

  1. We set up the room in 4 U-shaped table teams with the projector Jane & Ted brought facing the back wall.  The Bethel projector is still broken, but everything worked out after the lightning slowed down!  In the beginning we had to restart the projector & computer between 10 and 15 times which slowed our start by 10 minutes.
  2. We need to bring extra power cords to run around the room.  It’s a mighty big room!
  3. We will take turns leading the lessons and supporting each other the week: Monday-Christa-Lessons 5 & 6; Wednesday-Jane-Lessons 7-9 (We have already covered much of it); Thursday-Mary V.-Lessons 10 & 11.
  4. The is a Team Teaching experience.  Feel free to come up and grab the mic. if something needs to be shared that was forgotten etc.  It will not hurt our feelings!!
  5.  Overall the experience went well, but we all agree that we have been too gentle with the behavior management aspect.  We will better define our expectations / ground rules / procedures on Wednesday for using the restroom, getting a drink of water, using Chat, being absent, etc.  With over 40 kids we have to set better guidelines or we will accomplish very little.  During the main portion of the lesson the kids will have to turn their computers around or close the lid and listen.  Too much chatting going on!!! We need a little more tough love, which will help the kids have more fun and learn more in the long run.
  6. If students decide to drop out we will go pick up their computer with the help of Josh, Pastor Frank’s brother, who is driving the bus.
  7. If students miss more than 1 day without notice, their parents will be notified and the child will lose the computer and will not be able to finish the pilot unless parents speak to us.
  8. All adults working with students must follow the county procedure of getting fingerprinted and having a background check before they can work with the students.  It can be done at the local police sub-station.  If it is not done, then you will not be able to stay and volunteer.  This is a safety policy to protect the kids.  We have already done this if we work for the county.
  9. Tentatively we will set an event celebration for Thursday, July, 31, 2008.  That will be our last day with students because we start back to work.  Susan will start that week.  I start Monday (Aug 4th).  The Teachers start a week after that.  We are thinking 7/31 is a great day because we could get the parents to come in that afternoon after class for the rewards ceremony / celebration.  Ted and Jane are checking on the date. 
  10. The prospect of using the story book as a journal is not going to work too well as we discussed last week.  We will try using the Writing program on Wednesday.
  11. Students were a little confused about opening a 2nd viewer up for a sketch.  we will review that all objects have a viewer etc.
  12. I attached my lesson plan.
  13. The Power Point – I made quickly just so students could visualize all that we were asking them to think about as we discussed & see a visual of the challenge. 
  14. Jane will pick up stickers or a little incentive for the Starfish Challenge.

I hope this format works. I am a bullet format type of person! Have a great day!

(from newsletter)

As I write this, I’m flying home from our first Waveplace mentoring workshop, held in Immokalee, Florida. Over the last five long days, I taught our new Squeaky Tales course to a class of eight adults, most of them teachers. The week was enlightening and exhausting!

We also started our third Waveplace pilot with a whopping 42 fourth graders, each of whom received their very own XO laptop. I led the class with a projector and microphone while the eight mentors worked with smaller groups. The kids were absolutely incredible: well-behaved, motivated, engaged. The mentors were equally amazing, working as a cohesive team, guiding each child’s discoveries while keeping things fun. We’re expecting great things from the next nine weeks. I’m hoping we learn as much as the kids.

Our filmmaker Bill Stelzer recorded the whole week on video, both for our upcoming documentary and for our courseware DVDs. Our own Mary Scotti spent the week as well, learning Etoys for St Vincent. Best of all, Larry Abramson from NPR spent a full day with us, so keep your radio tuned to hear his story on Waveplace in Immokalee.

Special thanks to Tithe and More, who funded half the Immokalee pilot, and the Collier County Migrant Student Summer Program, who funded the other half. Thanks also to One by One Leadership Foundation and Naples Social Action for putting it all together.

Immokalee is a study in contrasts. With almost half of its population living below the poverty line, it ranks as one of the poorest areas in the United States, though nearby Naples ranks as one of the richest. Immokalee’s migrant farm workers pick 90% of America’s winter harvest, much of which goes to our fast food restaurants, yet many workers stand in line to receive food themselves since they cannot afford to feed their families. Your ketchup packet likely came from an Immokalee worker who was paid $50 to pick two tons of tomatoes.

Our shared hope is for a better future for the children of Immokalee. This week in class, it felt more than possible.

Today in Immokalee Florida, Waveplace started its third XO and Etoys pilot. We gave laptops to 43 children, and I taught them for two hours.

We also started our first intensive teacher training workshop with our new beta courseware. This week, I’m teaching adults five days, six hours a day, in addition to three student classes. The teachers will then spend the remaining nine weeks teaching the students themselves after I leave.

Let’s just say that between the teacher training and the children training, and the endless logistics (setting up the projector, arranging the chairs, unpacking the XOs, recording the serial numbers) … I’M TIRED!

And I get to wake up and do it all again 🙂