Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sub-Day 12/10/07

Hi kids,

Welcome to the second trimester--I'm sorry to be gone on this day! I look forward to seeing who is in my classes now and I'll be seeing you tomorrow.

Today the first thing I want you to do is read the two top posts on this blog together as a class. Maybe take turns? If you hold OpenApple and press the "+" key, the text gets bigger so everyone can read along. I'm afraid it's going to be confusing for the newcomers to the class, so please help them understand if you can.

Then go ahead and pair up and you'll take one laptop per pair. Today I want you to get a sense for the two options that you'll have for the research project (sorry about not allowing the Drug option--I thought about it for a long time and I have good reasons for limiting you to the other two.)

Today it's important that you only have one tab open, and that that tab stays in Clusty. The neat thing about Clusty . . . well there are a couple of neat things about Clusty. I guess at this point you could open a second tab (OpenApple + T) and google "clusty."

Neat things about Clusty:
  1. You don't get bombarded with billions of webpages. It carefully selects the best resources on the internet for you.
  2. It clusters the results. If you search for "poverty relief," for example, you see that they have organized all the poverty relief hits into categories and subcategories. This could even be useful to you as you research, because it could give you clues as to other "big ideas" that you might not even know about.
  3. If you really want reliable sources, you might try staying away from commercial (for-profit) .com sites and aim instead for .org or .gov sites. That's under the "sites" tab above the clusters.
  4. Oh--please be careful about the ubiquitous "sponsored links" at the top of the search hits. The fact that someone paid money for those to be at the top should make you NOT want to click on them for your research. Duh.
5. Okay, last neat thing about Clusty . . . it helps keep rabbit trails more orderly. There is a "preview pane" that you can make pop up by clicking the magnifying glass. Then you can see the page and even click within the page WITHOUT "leaving" the Clusty site. Believe me--from the classroom management point of view, this is GREAT. If you Google for your info, then two clicks later you don't even remember the assignment, what class you're in, or the teacher's name. You are off on a journey of click-clickety-click-clicking and who knows where you'll end up.

So today no Googling, Asking, Yahooing, or anything else. Don't click the link to get off the Clusty site, but rather make full use of the preview panes. You are always to be on the Clusty site as you gather information to use tomorrow.

If you'd like to create a Word .doc and drag some URL links (web addresses) into it so that when you come back the next day you can start in immediately (rather than having to re-find all the sites that looked useful today), you may. You'll be able to have the same laptop tomorrow. Um, it would be important for you to save your file as something other than Document1.doc, if you know what I mean.

A note for the sub: I forgot to mention that my 6th hour DI class, after they've graded the papers from last week, can begin reading the next story. They don't have to do the "next word, what word" part, but they do have to do the two-minute timed reads and begin on the workbook if there is time. And I am going to be absent again next Monday 12/17--if you are comfortable with the whole computer thing you could leave me a note to that effect and I'll see about requesting you. So class, be nice!

Thanks, guys. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow! Read the next post about the project and watch the VoiceThread video. It's nothing to write home to Mom about, but it's something. My first real VoiceThread!

~T. Chase