Written by Gary Simeone Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00
This past summer, various Glen Cove teachers worked on curriculum and staff development projects. “It was all about 21st century skills,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Dr. Shari Camhi. “We concentrated on things like integrating new technology and being global.” Some of the new technology in the schools includes video scanners and recorders, podcasting, Twitter accounts and document cameras for student learning.
Third-grade teacher Ilene Abramson said that her classroom will use the Internet, video, radio and all the technology that is currently available. “We want to correlate our curriculum with what is out there in the world,” she said. Some of the accomplishments gleaned were a more detailed curriculum, the utilization of interdisciplinary approaches and the inclusion of websites and integration of videos in lessons and books.
Grades K through five saw a new scope and sequence in the area of social studies. “Social studies was our main focus for curriculum writing this summer,” said Dr. Camhi. New classes include, Myself and Others at the kindergarten level, My Family and Other Families’ in first grade, My Community and Other U.S Communities, second grade, Communities around the World, History of New York State and History of the Western Hemisphere.
Seventh-grade math and technology teacher Sue Rodriguez spoke of the changes in the middle school’s sixth- and seventh-grade classes. “We will have students learning an assortment of new technologies this year,” she said. In the sixth grade, students will be taught basic word processing skills and will learn about desktop publishing. They will also learn to create interactive multimedia presentations using smartbook software. In the seventh grade they will learn 21st century skills with programs such as Moodle, Google Docs and Wiki. Students will create podcasts, screen casts and slides casts and practice photo and image editing. Some of the other software they will utilize include Audacity, Jing and slide share.
In her staff development courses this summer, Ms. Rodriguez spent 15 hours teaching teachers how to use Wiki and embedding animations in slide casts. She helped them to create collaborative documents and online surveys and forms. In a 45-hour course, she explained the Intel Teach Program, showing teachers how to create assessment tools and standard based unit plans.
Second-grade teacher Mike Battaglia spent the summer creating a Wiki (website) on character education. “A Wiki is basically a website that anybody can create. It allows for collaboration between teacher, student and parent,” he said, explaining that parents can go on and see what their child is learning in school, looking at examples of their work or at the quizzes they are taking. “Now when parents ask their kid what they learned in school they can actually go on and find out for themselves,” he said.
A resident at the meeting asked how the teachers go about integrating study skills starting from kindergarten age. Mr. Battaglia said that study skills were an everyday necessity and that modeling study behavior and showing kids was the best way to teach them. Dr. Camhi also said that the middle school offered a study skills program for all kids. The resident was also curious about how teachers informed students to take the things they read on the Internet with a grain of salt. There are a lot of untruths out there so they have to be careful with what they read, they said. Mrs. Abramson said that a propaganda unit was included in the students’ study program.
Another resident said that all of the new technology in the classroom was a great step but it was important to teach students about the importance of trademarks, remarking, “For instance SMART Boards and Google come with registered trademarks. They should see how much trouble people can get themselves in if they infringe on copyrights.”