Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dreams to Life

Dreams to Life, is a start up project Van Meter's National Honor Society is working on. We wanted to do a service project and we knew we wanted to help our King Dreamers. The King Dreamers are fifth graders form King Elementary in Des Moines. Van Meter's NHS members mentor The King Dreamers, we have been mentoring them since last year.

The King Dreamers is a group of kids that are in the I Have A Dream Foundation. The foundation is a program that these kids were selected to be in. The foundation will pay for each students college education if they stay in the program until they graduate.

The King Dreamers is such a great group of kids. Kids that might have some difficult things going on in their homes. We think it is great being able to mentor them, they look forward to our visits. Just recently they came to our school for a visit. They loved it, they took a tour of our school, and they played with our laptops. It is so powerful seeing them wanting to learn about what we do at our school, being a one to one school district. We have so many great tools that help us learn. The kids were Skyping each other in different corners of the room, we had some kids on youtube showing off some of their dance moves. Kids in the Mac lab talking on a prison chat, talking to her father. This is when we knew, we knew from seeing those kids faces' light up, when they were on our laptops, that we wanted them to be able to have that same opportunity we have.

This is when Mrs. Miller contacted Danny Heggen from Youth Venture. He came to our school, he helped us brainstorm ideas to raise money for the dreamers. We came up with we wanted to have a silent auction event. Our goal is to raise 6,000 dollars to get The Dreamers 2 Mac desktops, 4 Flip Cameras, 2 still cameras, and an itouch. By raising this money and by giving them this technology we are helping by giving them new tools to better expand and showcase their knowledge. We also hope to advance their exposure to technology. The future is changing and even today people younger and younger are being exposed to technology. We hope to do the same with our group of kids.

Dani Hubbard and I worked on filling out paper work and figuring out details for our project for multiple hours. We wanted to get the word out about what our project was and to get other people excited about what we are doing. The NHS team wanted to have a holiday party to announce our project with community members and The King Dreamers. Dani, Andrew Flaherty, and I presented a slide show explaining what the NHS team wants to do for The Dreamers. They were so excited. We had multiple meetings where we presented our campaign to School Board members, for the Youth Venture board members, and for our staff at our school. Everyone is just as excited as we are for our project.

Our next step we are working on is finding a venue, and setting a date. We are looking at possibly having our event at Drake University. And we are shooting to have our event in late February, on a Saturday from 4-6. We will be going around to businesses in the next few weeks, asking for donations for our silent auction. I want to thank everyone for all their hard work and for their excitement in our project. We know these kids diserve what we have, and giving them these opportunities we think they will be so much better prepared for their futures.

The Low Down

The Low Down is a TV show my friend, Mackenzie, and I created for my current events class. We love rock and roll music. We thought it would be fun to make a top 5 count down of our favorite rock songs. We used iMovie, our Macs to record, and we uploaded youtube videos for the music videos.

We want to make more of episodes. We will be uploading them to youtube, and be embedding them into our news site. Van Meter News, is our creative writing website. We plan to make more videos soon! Comment to let me know what you think! :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I created an OpenZine for our next project in PLN. Mrs. Miller was out of town for a couple of days, and she told me I was in charge of the lesson plans. I was a litte nervous. I didn't know what project would be fun for the whole class, and I didn't know what the class would want to do.

I had recently saw The Nerdy Teacher (Nick Provenzano) on Twitter mention something about his PLN. Ktenkely and him put together a magazine every month using this web tool. This web tool being OpenZine. I did a little research, and I liked it. It is a cool new website that allows you to make your own magazines.

I created a rubric with Mrs. Miller on a Google Doc. And the next day we shared that Doc with the class. The students had some trouble with this site however. I noticed that saving was an issue. This is a very new site, and they seem to be working out the glitches. I contacted The Nerdy Tacher through Twitter. We later Skyped that day during class. He too noticed some glitches in the site. He was a great help to the rest of the class however. He taught us some tricks to get by until the glitches get fixed.

We finished this project and shared them with the class. My magazine is called Jules News. When I created the project I originally thought it was strictly going to be a news magazine. That is what is in my first magazine. I talked about current events that interested me. Next time I am going to create a Zine about who I am. I feel like that will better express who I am, and be a better quality of magazine.
But until that issue I hope you enjoy this issue! :)

Jules News - Jules News

Create Your OpenZine

Monday, December 13, 2010

Van Meter Vs. Philly Project

Our last project was a collabrative project with our PLN class in Philly. My partner was Nick Kowalski. We Skyped and decided to make a google doc, we jotted down some of our ideas. We ended up choosing to use a Voice Thread, and our topic was to compare where we both come from. It was called Van Meter Vs. Philly. We made a list of ten things we both had to take pictures of. We wanted to get the full affect of each city. We took pictures of what our houses look like, what our town looks like, or school, and what we do other than just school. Once we had all of our pictures we uploaded them onto one Voice Thread account, added some text and then we were done.
It was pretty interesting to see how different our communities are, and how we both have some similarities. It made me want to go and visit Philly. The Voice Thread worked great for this project, it was so easy to upload the pictures using only one account. You can see our project here. I hope you like it. :)