CyberFair Project ID: 6930

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Farmington Readers
Category: 2. Community Groups and Special Populations

School: St. Paul Lutheran School
    Farmington, Missouri, United States

18 students, ages 13-14 years old worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2012. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Classes and Teachers: Teacher Leanna Johnson and Eighth Grade Class

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Description of “Our Community.” Our community of St. Francois County is approximately sixty miles south of St. Louis. We are located in the Mineral Area region of the state of Missouri. Our city of Farmington has a population of around 16,000 people, and our county has a population of about 63,214 people as of July, 2008. Our school, St. Paul Lutheran School, has 200 students in grades 1-8. Other schools participating in our project were Jefferson, Washington-Franklin, Roosevelt and Lincoln Elementary Schools, Farmington Middle School and St. Joseph Elementary School. Population information from: Google Public Data.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our class sat down and thought about what we wanted to do for our CyberFair project this year. We came up with an idea that we mulled over and quickly decided that it was the right project for us. We decided a great project would be one that would bring other kids in our community together in some way. We created the Farmington Readers Blog! We hoped it would be a place for kids to talk about the books they enjoyed and recommend other books to various kids in their community. First, our teacher made building contacts, which means she contacted other schools’ administrators, librarians, and teachers. Together the building school representatives agreed upon and wrote the book review criteria. Then our teacher set up Kidblog grade level areas, and she also script-wrote the enrollment video so building moderators would know how to use the blog site. Kidblog is a Web 2.0 platform none of the participants, including our school, had ever used before. By October, most of the schools were active in our project. Our class immediately began work by making wall posters to share information. Next, our website “The Farmington Readers” was created so everyone could see our goal and progress towards it. Then we set up Google Doc spreadsheets online so that each school had their own spreadsheet. All the school buildings put their intended student bloggers in the spreadsheet and we made user names and passswords for them. Once everyone was enrolled in Kidblog, the blogging began and the building administrators moderated the blog activity.

Once everyone was blogging, we visited the schools that were participating to ask them questions. We had interviews with the students and the teachers. Everyone involved has been enthusiastic and supportive of our work. There are hundreds of students involved in this project in our town. This was a real community project involving students who didn’t know each other but they all came together with a common interest, the love of reading.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

We had scheduled meetings with the teachers and students, and due to snow days we had to reschedule some meetings. Our public relations class team helped us reschedule these meetings. We were appreciative of the flexibility of the building facilitators while we were trying to set these up.

We learned appropriate commenting on blogs. This seems easy, but we needed to understand how to encourage bloggers to support their blog topics and express why they liked or didn’t like a particular book. It requires thoughtful commenting to develop a conversation on a blog and this was something we hadn’t considered before.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our experiences together have made us better people in the long run. As a team we have worked together to try to help our community. Our team has learned many things about ourselves and each other which has made us grow together. We have been united within our class, and we are uniting others by creating a site where students can write about the books they are reading, all the while developing their writing skills and social presence in a monitored environment. These are important skills for online presence and will help everyone by the experience.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Most standards of the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) NETS (National Educational Technology Standards for Students standards are met by this CyberFair project. We also follow guidelines as presented by iNACOL standards for learning (International Association for K-12 Online Learning Research and collaboration online allowed us to apply our digital skills. We will be better prepared for the future by securing these standards as daily classroom practices.

For our project, students had individual accounts at Kidblog. We created user names that would protect their identities. We wanted to be responsible in this. Kidblog requires educator moderation, so teachers at each building were able to advise students about their writing and commenting on blogs. Teaching students how to develop online presence safely is a standard met for their future interactions online.

Writing skills of grammar, spelling and mechanics, plus skill in expression were met in the Missouri Show Me Standards in Knowledge and Performance Goals

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

We used twenty-seven computers, cell phones, cameras, video cameras, tablets, The Daily Journal newspaper, OpenOffice Writer, Kidblog, Glogster, Google, SD card reader, jump/flash drives, office networking, Google Apps for Education (Sites, Docs, and Gmail) Movie Maker, Notepad, and Jing (screen capture). Kidblog is a free site created especially for classrooms.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

We called and emailed administrators, teachers and librarians to set up meetings. During those meetings we talked to the students participating in Farmington Readers. We visited and interviewed seven school buildings and their teachers. Our public relations team took the time to create questions for our interviews with the students and we got many helpful answers. The teachers were helpful during the project. They were there for the students and without them we wouldn’t have gotten very far on our project. We developed and published our site very early so all the goal of our project could be visible and easily understood by everyone.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

It is helping our online community grow. We have helped do this by creating a place for the students to blog and by commenting on their blogs. Our project has impacted our community in a positive way. It’s given kids the ability to see different perspectives on books they are reading or might want to read. Our project is also giving them experience with the Internet and it also teaches kids that cyber-bullying is wrong. It is giving the students an idea of what they might face once they are adults and ready for jobs. This project has prepared them for adult life by helping them with their grammar and how to get input from other people and use positive words to encourage communication and interaction.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

In our project, we had teachers and students that were involved. The teachers watched over the students while they blogged by moderating the blogging and commenting. They also helped the students with the choice of books and other little things. The students were amazing volunteers by keeping their blogs current. They were asked to read a book and write a blog post on Kidblog about it. Most of the students were very dedicated to their part of the project and many wrote multiple blogs. Altogether, 280 participants are enrolled in the project.

We were able to talk with Maridee Larson, from the Farmington Press newspaper. We talked to her about our project, how we felt about it, and much more.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Our group has learned the demanding work that it takes to run a project. It has been helpful for us to get the experience in working with others. We have discovered that working as a group helped us tremendously in our project by giving us a certain responsibility to carry out to the end. This project made us aware of the importance of collaboration, online presence, protecting our privacy while expressing ourselves, and we learned that when people all have a common goal, it can be accomplished with great reward. We are so thankful our schools are blessed with teachers and students willing to learn something new together. A special thank you goes out to the teacher moderators at the elementary schools in Farmington for making the Farmington Readers project possible!


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 6930)

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