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A Different Kind of Webspiration Wednesday

Webspiration Wednesday normally consists of teachers gathering together in the library to watch and discuss an inspirational video or TED talk, followed by discussion about its implications in our classrooms.  Today was a different kind of Webspiration Wednesday. On March 10 I got a late night phone call that one of our second grade teachers had died.  I was convinced that I was hearing wrong, Val was only 53 and I saw her that morning.  She wasn’t feeling well when she got to school, so we called her  a sub.  Being that she is a teacher, she came back to school at 4:00 to write up sub plans and get everything ready for her absense the next day.  Her husband and 7 year old daughter were with her, and gave her 5 minutes to get her plans laid out.  Of course 5 minutes turned into 30 as she set out plans, answered emails, and wrote a morning message for her students at the board.  As she was finializing plans, she collapsed.  Paramedics weren’t able to revive her.   Our school body went into a state of shock and mourning.  The next day we had no school.  Teachers gathered and cried together, and we asked a lot of questions about how best to minister to grieving kids.  We brought in grief counselors and came together with our students the next day to help the students process the loss in any way that we could.  As a school body we felt utterly depleted.  An amazing thing happened, schools from  around the country came together to support us.  My PLN on Twitter immediately sent articles and podcasts for how to help children through the grief process and offered words of hope.  Jason Schmidt (@jasonschmidt123) had his students write notes of hope, encouragement, and prayers for Val’s little girl.  They arrived the day of Val’s funeral.   A neighboring school showed us love and encouragement by providing our staff the opportunity to come together over a catered lunch.  Today we broke bread together.  We talked, and laughed, and reminiced together.  We don’t often get that opportunity with staggered lunches and busy schedules.  We were inspired today not by a video talk, but by the love showed by others.   Thank you all for your inspiration, words of encouragement, and hope.

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Planet Quest: Alien Safari

Posted by admin | Posted in Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 10-05-2011

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What it is: Planet Quest Alien Safari is an interactive exploration adventure that encourages students to click on “life zones” around the world to find bizarre and extreme organisms that live on Earth.  Students will also learn about what the extreme organisms reveal about finding life in space.  As students explore they will learn about organisms that can live without sunlight, those with the highest radiation dose, those that are the most acidic, those that live the furthest underground, those with the strangest habitat and those that are the hottest.  Students click on a life zone on the 3D Earth to begin a video introduction to the organism.

How to integrate Planet Quest: Alien Safari into the classroom: Planet Quest Alien Safari is going to be a popular one with your boys.  My students got a kick out of “discovering” new organisms.  Use Alien Safari when discussing different life forms, classifying organisms or studying space.  My students wanted to do more than just explore the organisms, they wanted to write stories about them.  Students wrote creative stories imagining what kind of super hero the organism would be, or making them into super villains (As I said, the boys have fun with this one!).

Ask students to make predictions about the organisms based on where they are found, what does their geographic location tell us about the organism?

Tips: The music on this site gets a little OLD (at least for me, the kids may disagree) I had the kids use headphones when they were accessing this site independently.  If you are using it with the whole class and an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, you can turn the music off in the bottom right corner.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Planet Quest: Alien Safari in your classroom!

Comments (1)

This is a great find and will be a useful one in the classroom for me. Thanks for sharing.

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