Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Podcast #46 - Guerrilla Season Book Blog Author Interview

Hello. After months of planning and discussion we have started our book blog project for the first semester. Over 300 students at South Valley Jr High are reading Guerrilla Season by Pat Hughes - a historical novel based in Missouri in 1863 at the start of the Civil War. We have a blog at www.guerrillaseason.blogspot.com with suggested pages for each week of the four week project along with discussion questions, links to additional information, a place to ask the author questions and even some audio podcasts from interviews with the author about the novel. Check it out and join us if you like. In addition to the students here in Liberty, Missouri we have students in California and a teacher in Louisiana taking part right now. It just started so there is plenty of time to join. I want to thank Pat Hughes for taking such an interest in our project. She is commenting directly to reader questions and spending a great deal of with this project. How incredible it is for an author to be communicating with her readers while they read the book!

Direct link Podcast #45 - audio podcast from the Guerrilla Season book blog project in which the author Pat Hughes describes how she researched this historical novel - MP3 format - 10:35 minutes

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Podcast #45 - Tech or Treat Discovery Workshop in Liberty

Hello. Today I would like to invite all local listeners to attend a day of networking, learning and fun. On Saturday, October 28th, the Liberty School District and Discovery Education will be hosting "Tech or Treat" - a workshop for teachers focusing on web 2.0 tools for the classroom such as podcasting, blogging and United Streaming. This event is totally free for all teachers, we only ask that you send us an e-mail at techortreat@gmail.com before October 26th so that we can have everything ready for you. More details at the official blog: www.techortreat.blogspot.com

The event will take place at South Valley Junior High School in Liberty, Missouri - about a 20 minute drive north of Kansas City (a map is included on the blog). Registration takes place at 7:45 AM and the day will end at 2:45 PM. I will be doing a session on podcasting, Lance Huebner (South Valley Jr High teacher) will be doing a session on blogging and Linda Chiles (Kansas/Missouri Discovery Field Manager) will do a session on using United Streaming in the classroom. Steve Dembo - Discovery Online Community and the Teach 42 blog - will be doing a webinar from his home in Chicago and Brad Fountain - Discovery Education Podcast producer - will be giving a lunch keynote address.

There is no cost and Discovery is picking up the tab for a great breakfast (Starbucks) and lunch (Cupini's - a local Liberty eating establishment). There will also be door prizes and tons of fun. If you're in the area please register and attend.

Direct link to Podcast #45 - Tech or Treat Discovery Workshop in Liberty (MP3 Format) 9:45 Minutes

Podcast #45 Show Notes:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Podcast #44 - Libya Gives Students Laptops - When Will the United States?

Hello. Tonight is more of a rant than my typical episodes. I was doing an interview with a newspaper reporter about the use of technology in today's classrooms and there were several questions about what happens to a student that does not have Internet access at home or a computer. These are excellent questions and I explained how I typically give students that don't have access at a home a copy of the studycast for example on CD so that they can listen to it at home on a CD player and still prepare with that tool for the test. I also answered that students do have access during the day at study hall or before school to use the Internet to comment on the book blogs that we do and the assignments posted online. But the more I thought about it the more I began to question why we even have to worry about this in the United States today.

This week Libya became the 4th nation to sign up with the $100 laptop project. When will the United States realize that giving students anywhere, anytime access to learning is a good thing? I know that the $100 laptop program may not be a fit for the United States, but having a computer in the hands of each student should be a reality in our nation soon, however possible and it is possible. I hope I see the day.

Direct link to Podcast #44 - Libya Gives Students Laptops - When Will the United States? (MP3 format) - 10:00 Minutes

Show Notes for Podcast #44:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Podcast #43 - Join Us For The Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project

Hello. Today I am inviting you to join us in the Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project. Starting on October 23, 2006 there will be over 300 students at South Valley Junior High reading "Guerrilla Season" by Pat Hughes and commenting through the use of a blog at www.guerrillaseason.blogspot.com We will also have parents, teachers and community members joining us. We have also already heard from classes in California and Louisiana that plan to join us. The author, Pat Hughes, is actively engaged in this project and will be commenting directly to participant questions and comments.

Direct Link to Podcast #43 - Join Us For The Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project (MP3 Format) 13:30 Minutes

Show Notes for Podcast #43:

- The Guerrilla Season Book Blog site
- The Official Pat Hughes site
- Purchase Guerrilla Season

- Review of Guerrilla Season by Civil War St Louis

Here are some FAQ about the Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project:

When does the Guerrilla Season book blog project take place?
The project officially starts on October 23, 2006 and will conclude on November 19, 2006. The blog can still be accessed after this time period but some of the discussions will not be active.

Who is moderating this book blog project?
Eric Langhorst, an 8th grade American History teacher at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri will be moderating this blog with the help of author Pat Hughes and fellow SVJH 8th grade American History teacher Erin Garvey.

How do we know what pages to read over a certain time period?
Each week on Sunday night there will be a suggested number of pages to read for the week. Typically it will be around 80 pages a week.

What discussion questions will be included with the project?
Each week there will be several different discussion questions posted on the blog. Readers can add their reaction to the discussion questions through posting a comment on the blog entry. Readers will be able to each others comments and can discuss the questions through the use of comments.

Is posting comments on the blog safe for students and member of the general public?
When you add a comment and hit submit your comment is first sent via e-mail to Eric Langhorst and Pat Hughes. We will read the comment and then decide if it should be posted to the Internet for everyone to see. Everyone commenting should either comment as "anonymous" or using a first name only. Any comment that contains a first and last name, inapproriate comments or a vast number of errors will not be posted to the Internet.

Will the author be involved in the discussion?
Yes, that is one of the best things about this project. Pat is very excited about participating in this project and will be commenting on reader questions and providing feedback on the themes of the novel.

What other items will be included in the blog with the discussion questions?
The blog will also contain pictures, links to sites that relate to the novel, audio from author Pat Hughes about the novel and projects the students will be working on at South Valley Jr High.

What will students be doing with this project in addition to reading this novel?
Everyone 8th grade student at South Valley Jr High - about 300 in total - will be reading Guerrilla Season during the project. Students at SVJH will be reading the novel as part of a graded activity. SVJH students will be required to post at least two blog comments during the duration of the project and complete one project based on the novel. (Details of the possible student projects will be added in a later blog entry.) Students around the country participating in this project can follow the lead of SVJH or their teacher can adjust the project to their situation.

What is Guerrilla Season about?
I don't want to give away too much about this book but it is a historical novel about Missouri in 1863 as the Civil War is brewing. Two teenage boys, Matt and Jesse, belong to families caught in the middle of the turmoil. It tells the story of the Civil War in Missouri, which is most likely very different than the Civil War you studied in school. Here in Missouri it was much harder to know who the enemy was and the terror of uncertainly was a way of life.

If you have any questions about this project that were not answered above or you would like to join us please send us an e-mail at bookblogproject@gmail.com