My youngest son, Nathan, together with his fellow teacher, Jane Smith, have been selected to attend the 2009 Innovative Education Forum in Salvador, Brazil. The forum will take place November 3rd through 6th at the Pestan Bahia Hotel. This is an all-expenses paid conference.
The invitation from Microsoft included the following:
"We are proud to facilitate this exciting opportunity to bring the most innovative teachers and schools from around the globe together to share their experiences and practices with us. The ground-breaking work you and your colleagues have been doing in integrating technology into the curriculum is worthy of note and celebration."
Nathan and Jane are one of nine teams selected to attend this conference from across Canada.
The title of their winning project: Portable Music: Online Recorder Instruction and Collaboration.
"Our project has two purposes:
1. Using Microsoft's Zune player and a variety of web-based resources, our students will set individual goals to become more proficient at playing the recorder.
2. Nathan Toft's students at A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School will collaborate with Jane Smith's school (South March Public School) in the creation of original music. This collaboration will be done using Zune and a variety of web-based applications.
Nathan and Jane have created all the resources (sheet music, audio and video files) needed for individualized, differentiated music assessment. All of these resources were designed specifically to take advantage of the Zune video and audio capabilities. They are also available at PortableRecorder.ca.
The sequence of lessons for online collaborations is posted at PortableMusic.ca. This is a "living document" that continues to be refined as Nathan and Jane continue to collaborate and meet the needs of their students.
Natahn and Jane have collaborated for a number of years as they taught their different classes at A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School. This year Jane moved on to a newly built school, the South March Public School, but the collaboration continues.
Nathan and Jane co-authored two books too. Their latest book Web Tools for Kids (978-0-7791-9182-6) was published by Scholastic in January 2009. The text is geared toward a Grade 6 level and is Part of their Moving Up With Literacy place guided reading series. Follow the link "Grade 6 Reading Titles" for pricing information. This book is only available as a guided reading, meaning that you get six copies of the book and a teacher's guide focussing on reading strategies.
Their first book Our Podcast was published by Scholastic in January 2008 for Grade 4. It too is part of the Moving Up with Literacy series and the same notes apply to it.
The latter book arose out of Nathan and Jane's experiences in podcasting from their classrooms. CBC Ottawa has featured podcasts from their classes on many occasions.