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September 30, 2008

An invitation to join a hands-on workshop LIVE online!

Calling all maths teachers involved in eTwinning. you are invited to take part in a webcast called the The International Challenge
This presentation will explore cross-cultural connectivity and the effectiveness of real time collaboration in the teaching of Mathematics, using a Grand Prix car racing simulation software modelled on real data. This software uses practical maths skills along with problem solving, teamwork and strategic thinking to set up a car for a virtual grand prix. Add to that an international challenge between schools across the world, then the opportunities to enhance the learning and teaching of Maths is immense.

Angela Jones and Val Brooks are the presenters for this online workshop so come along and experience the software and discuss the possibilities. During our presentation they will be discussing their use of the car simulation software, web conferencing software and a VLE developed by Val.

Although they will be using a Mathematical context for their presentation, the ideas and uses of the various technologies in their presentation are applicable across many other subject areas.

Where: http://tinyurl.com/3vjogk or or contact Val Brooks at val_brooks@stocktonclc.org.uk .

When: October 9th, 2008 at 9.00-10.30pm (GMT) 22:00 - 23:30 (CET)

Anne Gilleran

September 11, 2008

A Simple Maths Project

"M@ths on Fingertips" is a very simple project on the constructivist approach to teaching Mathematics to Lower Secondary School pupils. The project was initiated due to a Comenius in-service training. It is connected to a parallel teaching experiment that took place simultaneously in two schools: College Jean Rostand (France) and School no. 92, Bucharest (Romania). The French and the Romanian teacher organized this experiment in order to compare their reactions and the way they solved the tasks. After comparing our syllabus, we decided to work with the 5th grade in Romania (11years old) and the 6th (12 years old) grade in France, because there were many similarities in the curriculum.
The experiment consisted in teaching Geometry in a constructivist manner to 11-12 years old pupils. We wanted to compare the way our students react to this new approach. We also hoped this would be a way to diversify or teaching techniques, bring to life the ideas of constructivist teaching, use ICT for describing and reporting our experiences and to communicate, share our pupils' results, ideas, our educational environment, compare our curriculum etc.
As both classes were getting the fist Geometry notions, both in plane and solid Geometry, we decided to help them by teaching a few Geometry lessons in a constructivist manner. This would give the pupils a different experience of already known concepts such as perimeter and area of a rectangle, nets of a cube etc.
The main differences between the usual teaching manner and the way we solved the tasks were that the pupils made and manipulated the objects themselves, worked in their own pace and their own manner, with no indications or algorithm, with different tools, worked in groups all the time, not just for a sequence of the lesson, and decided their own group strategy.
The French teachers and I exchanged opinions and compared our pupils reactions by emails. We elaborated Powerpoint presentations of the tasks and I also uploaded photo-galleries, videos and short task descriptions on the eTwinning portal, to show how the tasks had been solved.

Our aims were :
* to experiment the constructivist approach in teaching Mathematics, comparing it to the traditional, transmissive way of teaching;
* to share the results and our experience;
* to use ICT to share our results as well as a communication tool for both teachers and pupils;
* to collaborate and communicate with teachers and students in another part of Europe;
* to improve our collaborative skills and our group work methods and spirit;
* to enhance our students' interest in Mathematics, their curiosity and investigation spirit by using concrete representation of Mathematical objects;
* to develop their ability to transfer abstract knowledge into every-day life and the opposite;
* to analyze and compare the educational environment in our schools.
The project is not completed yet, there are still some materials to be added, but you can see our work so far at http://twinspace.etwinning.net/launcher.cfm?lang=en&cid=27882

Irina Vasilescu, School no. 92, Bucharest, Romania

September 10, 2008

The waste is the enemy of the modern society!

Waste, is an unwanted or undesired material or substance. It is also referred to as rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk depending upon the type of material and the regional terminology.
Waste is directly linked to the human development, both technologically and socially. The composition of different wastes have varied over time and location.
With industrial development and innovation being directly linked to waste materials.
We can classify the waste: paper, glass, wood, metals, plastics, biodegradable waste (food waste or sewage), nuclear waste.
Some components of waste have economical value and can be recycled once correctly recovered.

We are two schools (“Lycee Condorcet” from France and “Vasile Alecsandri” High School from Romania) and we just begon this new eTwinning project.

The OBJECTIVES of the partnership are:
• To develop a responsible mature attitude toward waste
• To understand that both environment, ways of production and living conditions are in close mutual dependency
• To highlight the tight relationship among waste and health, physical welfare, cleaning, social welfare.
• To inquire at both personal and collective level the material value of waste as resource.
• To understand that waste inspired works of artists
• Read, produce and understand brochures, various depliants, schemes, graphs, work tables using ICT tools
• Scientific area objectives:
1.To know what is waste and where you can find it
2.To know the natural cycle of biodegradable waste.
3.To know and classify the waste
4.To understand risks of the non-recycling the waste
5.To understand the importance of waste as a resource
• To recognize changes occurred in life habits comparing some aspects of actual life against that of grandfathers or great grandfathers.
• To distinguish the participation of the man that negatively afflict the exploitation of waste.
• To know local agencies which operate on the territory for processing of waste
• Excursions in the territory and documentation.

THEMATIC CONTENT of the project involve general informations about our countries and schools, definition of waste, European and specific legislation, collecting and recycling the waste, environmental impact.

During the project we will develop our blog: http://etwinningwaste.blogspot.com/

The website of the project on etwinning platform is: http://my.twinspace.etwinning.net/waste?l=en

Join us!

Lidia Minza- Chemistry teacher
„Vasile Alecsandri“ High School, Galati, Romania

September 07, 2008

"Under the sign of water!" a new etwinning project

Water is an essential element in the life of each human being and it is placed like positive condition for the welfare of the entire community. Life, as we know, it can not exist without water.
75 % of the Earth is covered in water providing an environment for organisms to live in. Water is the most important substance in our evolution and our daily lives.
Without water, life as we know it would not have been possible.
The main aims of this project are: to focus on the importance of the water issue, to become aware of the differences and similarities wtithin different countries of Europe about this problem, to communicate in English, to develop a responsible mature attitude toward water, understand that water inspired works of many artists: painters, musicians, writers, architects of all ages.

The thematic content of the partnership include:
•About us (general informations about the partners: our countries, schools, pupils, teachers)
•Chemistry and Phisycs of water: structure, chemical and physical properties, experiments
•Water and territory: hydrogeological aspects
•Water in literature
•Water in history
•Water in art
•Water and pollution
•Water in economy (industry, agriculture)
•Water in health (hygienic-sanitary use)
•Water and fun (feeding stories, anecdotes, funny photos)

Every month, the pupils should produce something related to water: an experiment (sciences), the description of a river, lake, dam or an activity related to water, pictures, songs about water, etc.
These works will be published on the eTwinning site of the project so that they will be available to all members (http://my.twinspace.etwinning.net/water?l=en).
We work now for building a blog too: http://sign-of-water.blogspot.com
The project partners are: Michel Duterme (Institut „Sainte Marie“, Belgium), Lidia Minza („Vasile Alecsandri“ High School, Galati, Romania) and Diana Rotariu („Mihai Eminescu“ High School, Barlad, Romania).
Join us!

Lidia Minza - Chemistry teacher
"Vasile Alecsandri" High School, Galati, Romania

September 01, 2008

A Useful Tool for eTwinners: the MagazineFactory On-line Newspaper

The on-line magazine was my students' favourite external tool in the eTwinning project called "PLI. The Place We Live in". The project makes part of a Comenius project with the same name and the participation of five European countries: Spain, Poland, Romania, France and Italy. The partners' main aim is to explore and value the geographical, historical and cultural heritage of our provinces and to promote them by means of tourist guides. You can see our last year's work at http://www.gonzaleztablas.es/profesores/2006_2007/index.html and our magazine's address is: http://www2.edu.fi/magazinefactory/magazines/placewelivein/

The on-line newspaper is an interactive tool and it can be used in various purposes, including education, communication and at the same time for getting acquainted. For example, students in schools located in different countries can produce the newspaper together, and can thus improve their journalism skills, but also their IT knowledge .
The role of "journalist" and the simple way to publish are designed to motivate the students and make them enjoy this activity. Seeing their work published outside the Twin Space too, in a very visible place and getting feed-back are extremely motivating for them, while the general theme "The Place We Live in" is open to a wide variety of topics, new ones appearing every day and stimulating creativity. The on-line newspaper is a living being who receives new ideas each school term.

In our project, the goals of using this tool (along with others such as the eTwinning site, the blog, the project's web page) were: to find new ways of collaboration and mutual knowledge, to get the students more aware of their environment and the every-day reality by collecting the latest information published in media related to our project's theme, to increase their responsibility by giving them the opportunity to form and express opinions. We also aimed to enhance students' interest, by providing various working tools, pleasant and easy to use, to improve their communication in English, the language of our project, to reinforce their reading habits and to enrich our project with a new dimension, the "last minute news ".

Given that the goal of the project is to write a tourist guide, the newspaper provides students with an easy-to-use tool to explore their own city, their cultures and to interact in a cross-curricular way with students from the other countries in the project. It is a useful tool to learn in a different way and to take more responsibility for what they learn, to understand the importance of media in our society.

The on-line magazine is always led by a teacher who has the role of editor-in-chief. He or she is responsible for the content of the newspaper, as well as for the work of the other participants. The other participant teachers are in the role of editors, leading their own editorial group, while the students are journalists. The newspaper has a main article, there is an image gallery, the possibility of publishing image articles, sections for the forum, letters, reviews from readers, a section for participants' discussions one for their profiles, useful links etc.
The creation of electronic newspaper starts as one of the teachers accesses the MagazineFactory site, fills in a form and sends it. Within a few days, he receives a new link to the newspaper and a username, which will help him set the structure and appearance of the newspaper and create usernames for the other editors. They, in their turn, will do the same thing for their own students. From this moment, the creative process can start. Journalists write articles and send them to editors, who can edit, publish or send them back accompanied by feed-back. Recently, there were added new ways to enrich the on-line newspaper, using Google maps or adding Youtube videos.

For more information and for the very useful and clear chief editor's, editor's and journalist's manuals, you can access http://www.edu.fi/magazinefactory/

Irina Vasilescu, School no. 92, Bucharest, Romania