Webquests Let Students Explore Independent Ally In Indianapolis Schools The San Jose Unified School District Wins Honors For Its Board Of Education Driven Public Engagement Model Online Defensive Driving Courses Adding From Left To Right A Better Way To Add

The Indianapolis Public Schools Click Program

The Indianapolis Schools Click Program, a professional development program for teachers, helped teachers designed web based learning activities for students, called WebQuests. The Indianapolis Public School website offers a range of WebQuests, arranged by grade level (K – 2, 3 – 5, 6 – 8, 9 – 12) and subject area. Many of the WebQuests connect multiple subject areas.

All the WebQuests are offered free to the Indianapolis Public School community in order to enhance student learning on a variety of subjects. They are easily accessed by clicking on the relevant grade level and subject area on the website.

What is a WebQuest?

A WebQuest is defined as an “inquiry based activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web.” WebQuests are designed to focus learners on using information and support thinking on all levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Students are given the exact location of the information that they need in the order that they need it in order to use the learner’s time effectively. The model followed by the Indianapolis Public Schools was developed by San Diego State University in 1995. The WebQuests on the Indianapolis Public School website are best viewed with the latest version of Internet Explorer.

A Sample WebQuest About Dinosaurs

In order to see the creative and interesting uses for WebQuests, let’s look at one particular example. This WebQuest was developed by an Indianapolis Public School elementary science teacher to help students learn about dinosaurs.

At the beginning of the WebQuest, there is a clear assignment: a pair of students is going to design a poster about one of the dinosaurs they learn about in the Dinosaurland WebQuest. In order to do this, they are instructed to print out pictures and type out important information. The Indianapolis Public School students will be judged on their correct use of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, bringing in a writing element to this science lesson.

The WebQuest provides students with information about Meat Eating Dinosaurs, Plant Eating Dinosaurs, and Fossils. In each section, the students are directed to look at information provided by various museums, including the Cyber Space Museum of Natural History and Exploration Technology, the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Royal Ontario Museum. In addition to these professional sites, Indianapolis Public School students are also directed to teacher – produced websites that give details about specific dinosaurs in addition to graphics pages like the 3D Dinosaurs Pictures Web Page.

At the end of the WebQuest, students are provided with a detailed rubric for completing their poster. This rubric includes how many points the students will gain or lose for each part of the poster, including Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, Pictures, and Presentation. At the end of this rubric is a page for the Indianapolis Public School teacher to print out and complete with details about the student’s work and accomplishments. In this way, the Indianapolis Public School student works almost entirely independently from the teacher to create and present a unique insight into the subject.

The San Jose Unified School District has enacted a unique plan to build relationships with the local community in order to overcome an old negative image.

The Past Negative Image of the San Jose Schools

A series of teacher strikes, bankruptcy, and changes in leadership gave the San Jose Unified School District a bad reputation among the local community. Students weren’t achieving state standards and many parents and teachers didn’t know what to do to fix the situations. The San Jose Unified School District faced the daunting task of regaining public trust and integrating itself into the needs of the community.

The Board of Education Driven Public Engagement Model

The solution that San Jose came up with was not an easy one, nor a quick one. It involved finding new ways to communicate with parents and other area residents in a way that allowed all voices to be heard and real data to be collected about the school district’s problems.

Focus Groups

The San Jose Unified School District organized a series of focus groups to identify what needed to be done. These focus groups were able to pinpoint the factors that bred mistrust and disinterest in the community. Eventually, the school district was able to say that the basic factors contributing to the problems in the district came from three sources: lack of school – community interaction, low student expectations, and uninvolved or uninformed parents. With this information, the Board of Education turned to business and civic groups to try to find ways to eliminate these factors.

The Goal

The Board of Education Driven Public Engagement Model has both short and long term goals. In the short term, the San Jose Unified School district sought to create a plan that would make the local community want to send their children there. In the long term, the school district hopes to engage the community in order to accomplish their goals of improving student performance while building up a network of tools and strategies for communication with the public. Superintendent Don Iglesias explained: “The program was developed to increase parent and community participation and understanding within our school district.”

Successful Components of the Model

District communications are at the center of the Public Engagement Model and conferences between school and community members are held on a yearly basis. Called “community conversations,” these conferences have allowed the school district to hear the thoughts and opinions of over 6000 people. In addition, annual surveys for parents, teachers, and students help identify the issues to be resolved and help all members of the community feel a commitment to the success of the San Jose Unified School District.

Evidence That It’s Working

Improvements in student achievement across the board are clear in the 30 California Distinguished Schools and 11 National Blue Ribbon Schools in the district. In addition, the new relationship with the community has also had its rewards. First a $165 million bond issue and then a $429 million one have shown overwhelming public support for the San Jose Unified School District, as the local community shows the new found trust and high expectations it has for area schools. As Superintendent Iglesias puts it, “Through this project, we have learned what strategies work from a public standpoint, and parents feel heard and respected.”

Defensive driving courses are ones that are structured to help individuals learn how to drive safely and drive in accordance with motor vehicle laws. This is not a new type of course but one that has gained increasing recognition over the past few years. Some individuals take these courses in the case of a traffic violation where there will be points added to their license if they do not complete a defensive driving course. Other individuals may take a defensive driving course to get a better rate on their automobile insurance whereas some people take the course simply to better their driving skills and decrease their chances of being involved in a car accident.

Whatever the reason may be for completing a defensive driving course, there is one particular way to complete the course that is highly recommended. That is to take the defensive driving course online. There are many reasons associated with online defensive driving courses which make taking a course in this manner a very attractive concept.

Convenience

Perhaps the number one reason why individuals take defensive driving courses online is due to the convenience that is associated with taking courses from a home computer connected to the Internet. By taking a defensive driving course via online one can study and “attend class” whenever it best fits into their schedule. It is also convenient because they are able to complete the course from the comfort of their own home and there is no need to sit in traffic on the way to and from a course center. The convenience aspect is an extremely desirable one especially in today’s busy world.

Easy to Concentrate

Another reason to take a defensive driving course online is for the sheer fact that many find it easier to concentrate in a quiet environment than in a crowded classroom with a number of other individuals present. Some people find it easier to think when they are completing a course in the privacy of their own home where others will not be around to distract them.

Structured Course Format

An additional benefit to taking a defensive driving course online is that online courses of this type are ones that have a structured format to them. As courses that are taught by an instructor may sometimes be a bit garbled and unfocused, depending on the teacher, it may be harder to follow that type of instruction. With online courses, one will most likely receive a structured outline of the course and it may be much easier to follow along with an online course for defensive driving than other types of courses.

Reviewable Format

Another great reason to take part in a defensive driving course online is because the course format is more likely to be reviewable than if an individual were taking the course in a structured classroom setting. How many times has one been in a classroom where the instructor talks a mile a minute and taking notes as fast as the individual is talking is impossible? If the answer to this is in the affirmative, then taking advantage of a defensive driving course online may be highly advisable. One does not have to move on to the next section until they completely understand the current section which they are working on.

Online Testing Methods

Many of these online defensive driving courses will not only provide coursework for the individuals to partake in but an online test at the end of the course as well. These tests are often required in order to receive the official completion certificate. Requiring individuals to pass the test is a way to show that the coursework was completed and a lesson was learned as a result of engaging in the course. Many of these tests provided by online defensive driving courses are multiple choice and some will even allow a retest should it be necessary for the individual to successfully complete the course and receive a completion certificate.

Delivery of Completion Certificates

Some states will require that individuals who embark on these types of defensive driving courses hand in their completed certificate in person at the governmental office or insurance company, whichever entity it may be that needs evidence of certification. Once an individual completes a defensive driving course online, they will be presented with a completion certificate showing that the particular course has been successfully completed. This is extremely beneficial for those individuals who have to turn in their certificates of completion to governmental agencies or insurance companies. They are presented with concrete evidence which shows that the course was completed.

Additional Tip

An important thing to keep in mind is to always check with the appropriate governmental entity or insurance company if one is interested in taking an online defensive driving course in order to satisfy a requirement. As some entities may require certain types of defensive driving courses to be completed, it is also important to look into that matter before embarking on a particular defensive driving course route.

Online defensive driving courses are wonderful ways in which to learn how to operate a motor vehicle as safely as possible and at times also learn about certain motor vehicle laws which may affect the driver. Whether one is looking to meet court ordered requirements, obtain a lower automobile insurance rate or simply improve their defensive driving skills, taking an online course in order to do so may be the best bet for those particular individuals.

More than likely, when you learned how to add, you started on the right and moved to the left. If you were adding whole numbers, you added the ones, “carried” if necessary, and repeated for the tens, hundreds and so on. This works well on paper, and it is the most efficient paper and pencil method; however, adding in the other direction has several desirable advantages: the left to right method promotes a better understanding of place value, it can be done mentally with much greater ease, and it does not require that numbers be lined up in a column. Students can learn left to right addition, so they have another method to choose from when presented with addition problems.

Left to right addition involves adding the largest place values first. As you move from left to right, you keep a cumulative total, so it is simply a number of smaller addition problems. To give you an idea of how it works and what it sounds like, consider the example, 677 + 938.

Begin by adding the left most place values. In the example this is 600 plus 900 equals 1500. Add the values in the next place, one at a time, to the previous sum, and keep track of the new sum each time. In the example, 1500 + 70 is 1570, 1570 + 30 is 1600. For students who are more proficient at this algorithm, they don’t necessarily think “plus 70″ or “add 30.” Their thought process, if said out loud might sound like, “600, 1500, 1570, 1600, . . .” Continue adding the values in each subsequent place until finished. The final steps in the example are 1600 + 7 is 1607, 1607 plus 8 is 1615. The sum is 1615.

As you can imagine, students need to be proficient at single digit addition and have an understanding of place value before attempting left to right addition. When they are first learning it, they might try repeating sums as they go along (e.g. 1500, 1570, 1570, 1570, 1600, . . .) to help them retain the newest sums. They might also cross out digits as they are adding. There is no rule about having to add in this way mentally. Students could write down the sums as they proceed.

Left to right addition promotes a better understanding of place value than right to left addition. In right to left addition, single digits are carried or regrouped with little emphasis placed on what the value of those carried digits are. In the example, 1246 + 586, students add 6 + 6 to get 12; they write down the 2 and carry the 1 when they should be carrying the ten. In the next step, they add 8 + 4 + 1 to get 13; they write down the 3 and carry the 1 when they should be adding 80 + 40 + 10, writing the 3 in the tens place (i.e. 30) and carrying the hundred. Essentially, right to left addition excludes vocabulary related to place value. Left to right addition, on the other hand, promotes an understanding of place value as each digit is given its correct value. In the example, the one in the thousands place is one thousand, the two in the hundreds place is two hundred, and so on.

Left to right addition is well-suited to mental addition since the sum is cumulative with no steps in between; in other words, there is nothing for the student to keep in mind except for the cumulative sum. In right to left addition, several numbers must be remembered as the student proceeds. To illustrate this, consider the simple example, 64 + 88. In left to right addition, the sum is simple to find: 60, 140, 144, 152. Only one number had to be remembered at any point. In right to left addition, 4 + 8 is 12, so there are already two numbers to remember: the two in the ones place and the regrouped ten. The next step is to add 60 + 80 + 10 to get 150. At this point, the two must be recalled and added to the 150 to get 152. Although this sounds simple, it becomes more complicated with more digits.

Right to left addition does not require numbers to be lined up in a column, but it is often taught that way because the method tends to ignore place value and relies on a student’s ability to line up the place values to compensate. Many errors that students make in right to left addition occur because they don’t have a strong knowledge of place value, and they forget or don’t realize that like place values need to be lined up. They might, for instance, add a digit in the tens place to a digit in the hundreds place. Another scenario is a sloppy recording of numbers where a digit is mistakenly added to the wrong column. In left to right addition, the emphasis is on finding a certain place value in each number rather than relying on the place values being aligned. Students, of course, need to be able to recognize place value before they can be successful at this method. For instance, they should be able to recognize that the ones in the numbers: 514, 1499, and 321 are in the tens, thousands, and ones places respectively. If they can’t, further teaching on place value is required before addition can be taught effectively.

Although left to right addition has several advantages, it isn’t suggested that you scrap everything else. Learning a wide variety of addition methods allows you latitude in problem solving situations. By teaching students this method, you give them another option when they are tackling addition questions.

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