It all started when Mrs. Abernethy applied for a grant from Lowes Toolbox for Education to get iPads for the classroom. Well, the Powerful Penguins got the grant, and they bought six mini iPads and two full-sized iPads. They have been exploring apps and creating projects ever since.
One day, Mrs. Abernethy shared a contest being held by The Foundation for Rural Services and Discovery Education called "The Connected Community Challenge." The top prize included $2,500 for technology. Immediately the students' ears perked up. They could use that money to buy more iPads for the classroom!
Basically, this was the challenge: The students needed to find a rural town somewhere in the world to compare to their rural town (Greenville, PA.) Then they needed to make a two-minute video explaining what they found. It seemed easy enough, but it wasn't!
Students worked on the project every spare minute and voluntarily stayed after school for over a month to make their video. The town they chose was a little town in Australia with a population of fifty people called Gulargambone. They learned a lot about this town, and it didn't fit easily into a two minute video. Evenutally, they met the challenge. The result is shown below.
A lot of the work put into the video really can't be seen. Students used a variety of editing programs to create the green-screened video. They kept track of where they got all of their information, videos and photos. They even contacted a photographer on Flickr who had taken pictures of the town to ask him permission to use his pictures in the video.
The Powerful Penguins take reading seriously. Each week, they reflect on what they have read in reading class and create a project to respond to the reading. This week's stories were particularly poignant, and as usual, the Powerful Penguins rose to the occasion. From topics such as the homeless to the plight of those handicapped and in need of wheelchair access, the Powerful Penguins found a way to connect the stories to their own lives. They pondered ways to make others' lives better. Aren't these the types of problem solvers we need for our future world?
Watch this video to learn how education is changing in response to the way the world is changing. Did you know that a group of scientists in the United Kingdom are collaborating with scientists all over the world to learn more about dementia and how to treat it? Exposing our students to a global world that works together to solve problems is essential.
Kudos to Rebecca Power for being a speaker on EDtalks. Last year's Ponderous Pandas actually met this wonderful educator through Skype. I am hoping the Powerful Penguins can collaborate on a project with her students this year.
Tornado, a very special Bearded Dragon Lizard, died this week. Bearded Dragon Lizards live 3-5 years in the wild, and 7-10 years in captivity. We are fortunate that Tornado lived twelve long years. He touched the lives of hundreds of students and became a great friend to many. We will always remember his gentle and kind ways. One student, Chase, formed a special bond with Tornado. He decided to honor him with the memorial video below.
Tornado was given a proud and respectful funeral. Former friends from sixth grade came to play taps for him, and students dropped handfuls of dirt on his grave. A concrete block and a stick cross mark his grave. Students left kind messages and mementos in the holes of the block.
A video Tornado starred in a couple of years ago:
Wednesday, February 6 is a new holiday with the title, "Digital Learning Day." The Powerful Penguins can definitely appreciate a holiday like this. How did they celebrate? They were presenters in Discovery Education's first ever student-led webinar. The event was called, "Don't Worry! Be Appy!" It was amazing and exciting. You can watch an archived video of the presentation below. The Penguins' presentation begins at 22:35 seconds, but if you have time, you should definitely watch the whole program. You can learn about a variety of apps from students from eight different states!