What's Happening in West Virginia?

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Julia Benincosa Legg will be hosting a Live Library Media Digital Learning Technology Smackdown from 8 am – 4 pm via Twitter and Thinkfinity Community.

Anytime during the day on Wednesday, February 5th, you can post one (or more!) Tweets to the hashtag #wvlm_smackdown to share your resources, ideas or tools!  To participate, just post your idea and include (#wvlm_smackdown) in the text.  It will then appear whenever anyone does a search in Twitter for #wvlm_smackdown! Since Twitter limits your characters in your post, you may need to shorten your URL to the site you’re sharing. (tinyurl.combit.ly or goo.gl are three free services to shorten your URLs!)  See my sample above:

Don’t have a Twitter account? No problem?  You can also post your ideas to the Thinkfinity WV LMS Community!


Last March, Kevin Whitt, substitute teacher for Mingo County schools, had an experience of a lifetime by visiting six different Chinese cities during a mission trip. It was there he met Michelle Zhan. Zhan teaches English to high school students at a special language school. During Mr. Whitt’s trip she invited him to speak to her students about English and American culture. On January 31st Zhan was able return the favor by speaking to 7th graders at Matewan Pk-8 School via Skype. Whitt, now in his second year as a substitute teacher for Mingo County Schools, has recently begun his student teaching placement with Mrs. Tonya Slone at the Matewan, West Virginia school. After collaborating with Mrs. Slone and developing a unit on Chinese history for the 7th grade, Whitt contacted his friend half way around the world to invite her to be a part of the experience. Zhan was very excited to help and jumped at the chance. During the live Skype session students were able to ask Zhan questions about Chinese culture. She also offered positive words encouraging the middle school students to value history, education, and to have a strong work ethic. Michelle Zhan has a big picture goal of fostering long-term global friendship. She stated, “One of my dreams is to build up good relationships between American students and Chinese students.” It is now Mr. Whitt’s hope that by offering a real human connection this experience has made China more than just words on a page for his social studies students.

Due to our 2-hour delay yesterday, my 1st graders and kindergarten students had a shortened period in the library. This was just the right amount of time to show a book/video in the online Scholastic BookFlix program which the library acquired for Suncrest Primary this year. Being Dental Health Month, we watched the book Open Wide: Tooth School Inside written and illustrated by Laurie Keller. The story relates how all the teeth in the mouth attend school to learn about the history of teeth, tooth structure and dental care. This lesson was also used by our basic skills teacher as she taught kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. Not only did this lesson address dental health, we also discussed fiction versus informational text and how the two can be combined, with factual information being presented within a fictional story. (We also mentioned to the students that using BookFlix would be an excellent activity for home should we encounter any more snow days! Directions for accessing the datbase have been sent home.) In short, it was fun, and the students learned some very worthwhile information in a captivating way. -- Karen Ebert, Librarian Ridgedale Elementary/Suncrest Primary Monongalia County
My students at Ripley High School logged on to iCivics.org and learned about the roles of the U.S. President. They completed the engaging simulations EXECUTIVE COMMAND and WIN THE WHITE HOUSE. I attached some pictures of one class - the first one is the best quality. Thanks! Jo Boggess Phillips Ripley High School
We invited parents school wide to Jennings Randolph Elementary to experience a typical school day and see how digital learning is standard across the grades and curriculum. Even our Music and PE teachers use it daily! Here is the newspaper article covering our activity:
Ellen Shepherd Jennings Randolph Elementary School Elkins, WV (Randolph County)

Hello! This is my third grade class at Shady Spring Elementary School in Raleigh County. Pictured w my students beside myself are Gayle Manchin and Assistant Principal Josh Grant.

We have been collaborating with preK to create an ABC iBook. I created a iMovie trailer (6.4 MB) to show what we have been doing :)

Thanks! Audrey Long

My students are using their WVDE Webtop accounts to complete an informational research writing project use Google Docs. They do this by working collaboratively in groups of 2 or 3 to create one informational presentation about a Civil Rights Leader using Google Docs. This can be done on laptops at the Google Docs website, or on Ipads using the Google Docs app, and they can do it from home or school on any computer or Ipad where there is internet access. When they finish the presentation, they then make up a 5 question quiz about it by creating a Google Docs form. To show their presentation to the class, they use the Google Docs Ipad app with an AppleTV and project it. After they present it, they give the class their 5-question quiz by either email sharing it through Google Docs and their WVDE access account, or by projecting it and leading the class through it. Julie Turnbull Bridgeport Middle School
I didn't do something just on digital learning day because I have some projects that we are working on that takes longer than a day. I did, however, wanted to let you know what I am doing this month. Perhaps we could make it digital learning month instead of DL day! In my SPL tier 1, the students and I have been working through the CommonSense Media Creator's Rights and Responsibilities. When we finish this up next week, the students will be starting photo essays. I have never done a photo essay before so we are learning together. My plans are to start photo essays in some of the labs in Science. In my Science classes, we are working in chemistry. While we are using chemicals and doing hands on labs, I am having the students help to video the labs for students that are absent. I know that this isn't the best use of technology with the students, but I am working on a blended model of a flipped classroom and trying to engage the students to help. So that's what February looks like for me. Thanks for all the tips and resources you send out! -- Phyllis J. Rider, B.A., M.A. Science Teacher Team 7-B Team Leader Lego League Coordinator Barboursville Middle School

Digital Learning Day, February 5, 2014 at Allison Elementary School, Chester, WV Postponed to Friday, February 7, 2014 (due to snow closure/delay) Students in 4th grade made QR codes using hints for a scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt took participants around the school using clues written in a QR code. To decode the hint, students had to utilize their iPad and the QR code app. Once the hint was displayed, the students had to decipher where it wanted them to go next. The fourth graders had a great time developing the hunt, and the rest of the school enjoyed finding their way around. First graders have decided that there is a little “chip” in the QR code that has the words written on it. Martha Roberts School Technology Contact/TIS Allison Elementary School 600 Railroad Street Chester, WV 26034

Burch middle school 6th grade math, QR codes for one step equations, Sherrie Spence, teacher

I am attaching a couple of photos from the DLD at Burch Elementary in Mingo County. I have labeled the photos. There were many other DLD lessons taking place at my school, I have attached photos of the activities in which was directly involved. If you have any question just let me know. Thanks for including us in the Telepresence Conference. -- Joy Marie Hunt, NBCT Title I Teacher/TIS Burch Elementary

The Spanish 1A class at Wirt County Middle School engaged in their first online discussion in Spanish using the WV Learns Discussion Board. The students all posted a question to their classmates in Spanish and each person answered one (or several) questions. One of the discussions between two students turned into a major thread with a total of nine posts between the two students! Also, during January and February, the Virtual Spanish students experienced numerous school cancellations due to inclement weather, and on those days, they were invited to attend the Virtual Spanish Conversation Café. It was an online meeting set up through Blackboard Elluminate in which all the students were invited to log on from their homes and chat with each other in Spanish. I had one student who attended the Conversation Café three days in a row! As an extension of that, as soon as Wirt County returned from a series of cancelled school days, one of the Spanish 1A students had to stay home ill, but having seen the invitations to the Conversation Café, he was inspired to send me an e-mail asking if he could participate from home in the regular phone/online lesson that his class was going to have with me that day. He joined our Blackboard Elluminate session from home and was present for the complete lesson, such that it was just as if he had been in school with his class. As a true testament to the power of Digital Learning, that class took place with participants from three different physical locations, the majority of the students were at Wirt County Middle School, one student was at his home, and I was teaching them from my office in Morgantown, West Virginia. Please let me know if there is anything you might like me to add to these descriptions or any other information that you need. Thank you very much! Sincerely, Jennifer La Casella, WV Virtual Spanish
I wanted to give you an update about some of the activities the WV Virtual Spanish teachers did on Digital Learning day and the week leading up to it. We held a Café Cibernético each afternoon for students who were out of school due to the weather. We were able to let students know about this through e-mail and phone calls. Students from McDowell, Morgan, Wetzl and Wayne counties participated on this Blackboard Elluminate Conversation Café session. We played hangman and Pictionary with the Spanish vocabulary they were studying using the interactive whiteboard. Some students even logged in using their iPads. This activity was entirely voluntary. McDowell county students in Spanish 2 were given an “All-About-Me” assignment and given their choice of digital media with which to illustrate their town, family and last year’s vacation in Spanish. 75 students worked on these assignments over the snow days, used Blackboard/Elluminate to consult with their teacher and develop rough drafts, and shared their presentations when school resumed. The virtual activities connected students from across the state even when schools were cancelled due to snow and ice. Attached is an image showing the chat box and a student’s wonderful feedback about the session and one showing some drawings from pictionary. I am working with several students to ask for permission to share their presentations with you and will hopefully be able to share by the end of the week. Weather has slowed us down but it didn’t stop learning! Hurray for digital learning! Señora Anna Megyesi WV Department of Education West Virginia Virtual School Spanish Teacher

Digital Learning in Conversation Cafés
Snow days and other interruptions to school are now opportunism for West Virginia Students to participate in statewide online Spanish Conversation Cafés. WVVS Spanish teachers began hosting cafés in late January following numerous snow days and interruptions following the chemical spill in early January. What began as small project for a few snow days around digital learning day has expanded into a flexible ongoing teaching component.  
Each café begins with introductions in Spanish. Discussion follows based around cultural images, current vocabulary, and student interests. Recently discussions have centered on snow levels in the students’ communities, Srta. Devine's 2013 educational exchange in Cuba, and Señora La Casella’s photos from Mexico, among other topics.
Spanish teachers take turns hosting facilitating the conversations. Teachers scaffold the language use based on the fluency levels and content knowledge of the students present. Since each teacher works with numerous counties and schedules, their availability to host varies as well as the students who are on snow days. Capitalizing on the opportunity for students to speak with peers statewide, Sra. Megyesi and Sra. La Casella have also brought their in session classes into the cafés.
Cafés are held online at 1pm each snow day. Students log on from anywhere with internet - accessing the Café from their computer or smart phone. Students utilize the technology skills they have learned in the classroom and apply them in the café. They politely interact with students & teacher from around the state while contemplating cultures. 
Teachers promote the Conversation cafés via email invitations, discussions when the students are in school, and via course home page alerts. One facilitator also alerts her students through cell phone text blasts using Remind 101.
            As snow days, school closings, and the needs for creative alternatives to classroom learning continue this winter, the conversation cafés will remain active and expand for statewide learning and collaboration.
-Leah Devine
WVVS Spanish Teacher

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