Guinea Pig Virtual Pet

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tell PBK Kids About Your Design Squad Antics

Students: Everyone

Go to the contact form on the PBS Kids website, and tell the DESIGN SQUAD team about your experiences at Hillwood with Adam and Judy. Include links to all of your Hillwood Herald articles from the DESIGN SQUAD experiments. (If you consistently included your name and "design squad" as a label you can simply search for those word for all of your related work.) Be sure to let the DESIGN SQUAD team know what worked best. Also, write about your favorite part of speaking with either Judy or Adam. Speak with Ms. Moorhead before you send in your comments.

Friday, January 26, 2007

What Did President Obama Say about Being a Teacher?

Students: Anya and Clara

What did president Obama say about education and the role of the teacher? Report on his remarks during the State of the Union address and then add you view on them. The following is from an excerpt from the White House transcript of the speech.


Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. And these standards were developed, by the way, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that’s more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids. (Applause.)
You see, we know what’s possible from our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities. Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado -- located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97 percent of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their families to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said, “Thank you, Ms. Waters, for showing that we are smart and we can make it.” (Applause.) That’s what good schools can do, and we want good schools all across the country.
Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. (Applause.) We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. (Applause.) And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math. (Applause.) 
In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child -- become a teacher. Your country needs you. (Applause.) 
Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within the reach of every American. (Applause.) That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. (Applause.) And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit –- worth $10,000 for four years of college. It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.)

How Would You Answer the President?

Students: Jay, Angela, Erion, and Camryn

The following excerpt comes from President Obama's State of the Union speech from Tuesday. What does he say about education and how would you answer his two specific questions for students?

So, yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember -– for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. (Applause.) No workers -- no workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We’re the home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on Earth.
What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea -– the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?” 
The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age. 
And now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.

What Did President Obama Say About Education?

Student: Rubina and Alysen

Read this article on Education Week and consider the transcript from President Obama's State of the Union Speech. What did he have to say about education? What do his words mean to you?

Remember to include images, links, and sources in your post.

The Story of the State of the Union Speech

Student: Jennifer

Explain the history and importance of the State of the Union address. You may use Wikipedia as one of your sources. Include this image and explain what it is and why it matters.

The President's State of the Union Address: Education

Student: Faryn

Read the following excerpt from the State of the Union by President Obama. What does President Obama say about education? What does it mean to you? Remember to include images, links and labels with your post.

Your goal this week is to complete your post by the end of class.


What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea -– the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?” [...]
The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age. And now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. (Applause.) We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. (Applause.) And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there. [...]
Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future -– if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -– then we also have to win the race to educate our kids. Think about it. Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us –- as citizens, and as parents –- are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. (Applause.) We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Walk and Talk to Seal (Specialists)?

Student: Faryn

This weekend at Pier 39 is the 21 anniversary of the arrival of seals to the piers, and people can join in a special “walk and talk with sea lion experts” on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. Check out this website, and then report to the Herald's readers.

The Fashion of NASA?

Student: Jennifer

Watch this New York Times video about NASA space suits. Then, read this article on The Seattle Times for more information. Finally, try to create a photo-based story. As you contemplate your lede — your creative introduction or start of your story — consider your Halloween costume.

Oscar-Bound Fifth Graders

Student: Clara and Faryn

Watch this video on The New York Times, and write a feature story.

If you have time, either create a Wordle highlighting good study habits, or create an image at the website Flower Power.

Willie Mays Back in New York

Students: Jay and Erion

Report on what's happening with the Giants and the "memory" of Willie Mays this weekend, based on the Giants website and this New York Times video. Consult Wikipedia to tell Herald readers about Willie Mays, who he was and why he matters to San Francisco. Make certain that you get your history right (for instance, is Willie Mays still alive?). When is Willie Mays Day in California.

Finish your assignment early, and you can play with Google Earth (or Mars or Moon).

Now, Give that Dog a Vowel

Student: Anya

Now, do I have the assignment for you! Two, in fact! First, read this article on The New York Times about dogs with impressive vocabularies. Then, report on what you learn. Include an explanation of findings from at least two of the studies cited. Remember to include links, labels, images, and a pointer to the video and its source. Next, read about Lily the Pug's hip replacement.

If you have time, you may use the Kindle.

What's the Secret to Test Taking?

Student: Camryn

When it comes to studying for a test, what's a good tactic, according to this new report? Read this New York Times article and explain what it might mean for students. In your article, be sure to include a link and explanation of the Science study. Who did this study and what constitutes a study in this case? Why might we (or not) trust the information in study?

Also, look for the controversy in the story. Hint:
Howard Gardner, an education professor at Harvard who advocates constructivism — the idea that children should discover their own approach to learning, emphasizing reasoning over memorization — said in an e-mail that the results “throw down the gauntlet to those progressive educators, myself included.”
 As part of your reporting, tell Ms. Woods about the study and The Times article. Ask for her opinion about how students may want to study. In the conclusion to your story, add your viewpoint — and remember to back up, or explain, your reasoning. Considering including a list of good study habits.

If you have time, either create a Wordle highlighting good study habits, or create an image at the website Flower Power.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

http://www.preraphaelites.org/

http://media.becta.org.uk/media/corporate/awards/2010/bett/digital_collections/pre_raphaelite.mpg

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Surprising Friendships Out in the Wild

Student: Camryn

Watch these video clips on National Geographic and then write about two surprising animal friendships. The first clip is about lion, a tiger, and a bear, and the second one is about an elephant calf and his friend. Write about these interesting "friendships."

Remember to include images, links, and source material.

Happy Birthday Wikipedia

Student: Clara

Well done, last week with your story about the 112th Congress. I know that wasn't an easy topic.

This week Wikipedia turns 10. Listen to (or read) this NPR article about its big anniversary. Then listen or read to an interview with Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales. What are some of the organization's goals for next year? In the article, look for information about Wikipedia's accuracy. How does it compare to others publications like Britannica? (Here's a hint.) What might this mean for students using Wikipedia? Also, read this Atlantic article and see what some "all-star thinkers" say about Wikipedia. Include and attribute what you consider the most-interesting quotation from this article in your feature story. Also, include the fact that Hillwood has its own Wikpedia page, created by graduate Irene T.

Remember to include source credits, photos, and links.

September 17: Friday Assignments

  1. Zach O.: Compare the Kno tablet with what you know about the iPad. and get ready for your assignments next week: Radio Hillwood and the OK Go Remix Contest
  2. Rubina H.: First, write about President Obama's back-to-school speech to students; then explore and report on Radio Hillwood. You will also present your story about "How to Study." (You may want to review your story.) 
  3. Anya J.: Congress is back in session — what might that mean to Hillwood Herald readers?
  4. Camryn P.: Free Symphony in the Park. If you have time, use the website Flower Power to make an illustration, or image, for The Herald.
  5. Nikita: Let's add a video clip from your Hello World: A Lego Printer assignment to your post last week. Then, play with the iPad and report on NASA's new, free app. (Zach can help you use the device.)
  6. Angela V.: Make a Wordle About the Constitution. If you have time, use the website Flower Power to make an illustration, or image, for The Herald.
  7. Faryn D.: Write about the primary sources of Congress
  8. Erion H.: Constitution Poster Contest — explain how to enter.
  9. Jay J.: What happened to the Constitution on this day in history?
  10. Jennifer L.: Constitution Poster Contest — explain how to enter.
  11. Clara M.: Make a Wordle About the Constitution. If you have time, use the website Flower Power to make an illustration, or image, for The Herald.
  12. Alysen S.: What happened to the Constitution on this day in history?

Explore Google Moon

Student: Nikita

Use Ms. Moorhead's main Apple computer for this assignment.

You need to finish this assignment so that you can write about this NPR Story Corps audio clip about a Challenger astronaut.

First off, finish your assignment from last week. Then watch the video clip below about "Moon in Google Earth." (When you are ready to do this, call Ms. Moorhead over, as you may need help with starting up Google Earth.)

Write an article explaining what Google Earth is and how to use it and how you can use it to see places like the moon and Mars. Remember to answer the five W's in your news story. Also, include images and links to support your post. You will be presenting this story to the class.



Friday, January 12, 2007

An Update from Judy Lee

Students: Anya, Faryn, Angela

Inventors Digest recently interviewed Judy Lee about her life as an engineer in a world dominated by men. Read the article, and write a news story with highlights and information from the interview. Judy gives a lot  of great advice to young students, especially girls, who might be interested in engineering. Include all that information, as well as links to The Herald's previous posts about Judy Lee and her work on Design Squad.

Remember to include images, as well as a reminder about the upcoming Design Squad broadcast. Here is some information to pull from:


PBS Kids Go! will launch the new Design Squad Nation (10 episodes) series, a spin-off of the engineering-focused kids competition series Design Squad, Wednesday, January 26, 2011 (check local listings).  Targeted to tweens/teens/families, Design Squad Nation will follow engineer co-hosts Judy Lee and Adam Vollmer as they travel across the country and around the world working with kids to get active, take risks, collaborate with different people and use science, math, and technology to solve real problems and create things.  The Design Squad Nation website features activities corresponding to challenges on the show to figure out solutions.  The site also features a blog with a range of engineering and DIY content from across the web.  Viewers can also follow Design Squad Nation on Facebook and Twitter.  

Sugar as a Heartbreaker for Teens?

Assignment: Jennifer

For the most part, we all know that too much sugar isn't good for us. But NPR reports on why too much sugar, especially in drinks, might be especially bad for teenager's hearts later in life.

Write a news story explaining this report. You should answer the five W's of a good news story, as well as the following questions.


  1. Who reported this story?
  2. Who created the report that this story references?
  3. What is this story about?
  4. When was this story first reported?
  5. Where did the story take place?
  6. Why does it matter to Herald readers?
  7. What is the connection between sugar, teenagers, and their hearts?
  8. What is "added sugar"?
  9. What other names, or pseudonyms, does "added sugar" go under? Why is it good to know these names? (Hint.)
  10. What can teens -- or anyone -- do to avoid too much sugar in their diets?


This week, your goal is to write at least 15 solid sentences and include images. Have Ms. Moorhead review your post prior to publishing.

A Game for Designing RNA

Student: Zach

Finish your assignment from last week first. Next, move on to this online game for learning about RNA. This will not be an easy assignment, and you will need to both read the article and experiment with the game. Also, Ms. Moorhead will need to help you log into the game.

Within the time allotted for The Hillwood Herald, you might not entirely figure out the game, but you are still responsible for writing a post that explains the people, schools, and science behind the game. Read the About page about the game. What is RNA? Why is it important? What do RNAs do? How does playing this online game help scientists?

Remember to answer the five W's of a good news story and to include links, labels, and images to support your story.

Who Are the Top 10 Composers?

Student: Rubina

The New York Times has launched an editorial package about the top 10 composers. Watch the videos, read the article, and write a feature article. What is writer Anthony Tommasini trying to do with his series of stories? Which composers does he highlight this week and why? For you, what is the most interesting highlight or aspect of each composers? Of the musicians presented this week, how would you rank each?

Because your article is a feature story, you should include more than just the basic elements and facts of a news story. How might you make these composers especially relevant to Hillwood Herald readers? As a musician, what does classical music mean to you?

Remember to include a photo for each composer, as well as captions and research credits. 

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How To Eat An Ant

Students: Jay and Erion

How would you eat an ant? How about an exotic ant with wings? Watch this New York Times video and write a how-to story.

For this story, you want to include at least five images with extended captions after your story's introduction. The photos and captions should show and tell the story and process of capturing and eating the ants. Also, don't forget to include why these ants and the tradition of eating them may be endangered, and as always, be respectful of the culture and traditions of others.

Remember to include the five W's of a news article, as well as images, source credits and labels. Your goal this week: A story twice as long as your post last week.


The Science of Good Grades (and Class Rank) Revealed

Student: Angela and Alysen

Do grades and class rank matter to your health as a student? Read this New York Times article and the report, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, it sources. Write a news story highlighting the report and its findings. Include the five W's of a good news story. Who conducted the study and why? Who participated? How might the report's findings be relevant to your peers at Hillwood? Include information on what, exactly, a longitudinal study is. What might be some of the benefits of such a study?

Remember to include at least two images, sources, labels, and links.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Where Have All the Sauropods Gone?

Student: Camryn

Smithsonian's website asks, Where have all the sauropods gone? Write a news story about their findings. Also, as a paleontologist enthusiast, add one to two paragraphs on your viewpoint. Why are sauropods significant? If you have time, you can take a panorama view of this dinosaur museum in Moscow.

Remember to include the five W's of a good news story, as well as images and links.

The Week Kicks Off the 112th Congress

Student: Clara and Alysen

Wednesday marked the first session of the 112th Congress. Read this Time for Kids news story, and tell Hillwood Herald readers about what this new session might mean for them.

You will also want to give a great deal of background information about who makes up Congress and what Congress, as an entity, does. Feel free to consult the Kids in the House Website, as well as Wikipedia. Include a run down of the key people involved in the 112th Congress.

Extreme Science -- Where Does It Happen?

Student: Faryn and Angela

Read about where extreme science takes place on Scholastic Kids. You will need to read more about the labs on either Wikipedia or the labs' official websites (Super Kamiokande on Wikipidia and its official site and Cern on Wikipedia and its official site). Once you have a solid understanding of the five W's of the story, report it to your Hillwood Herald readers.

Who's the World's Youngest Chest Champ?

Student: Nikita

Write a news story about the world's youngest chess champ based on this story from Scholastic Kids. Your story should be at least 10 sentences long. Remember to include links, images, and source credits.

Archiving and Researching the Civil War

Students: Rubina and Anya

Write about this New York Times video that highlights the process of archiving, researching and restoring historic documents from the Civil War. Include at least five images with captions to help tell your story. Also, highlight the significance of such archival materials. Why are letters so important in the telling of history?

Review an Interactive Music Video

Student: Alysen

It took Masashi Kawamura just over a month to design and code the Web video for “Mirror”— a new song by a Japanese band called Sour. Kawamura funded the project via Kickstarter—it cost just $5,000 to make—and launched it last Thursday.


Use Safari to see the video (which really is a mirror of sorts). According to one report on VSL, the video is a lot more impressive if you grant the program access to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and Web cam: "The things you’ll see actually do refer back to Sour’s lyrics (which are really very sweet). But they’ll also renew your sense of just how surprising the Web can still be."

Write a news story about Kawamura (who is he and where was he raised?), and what do you think of his video?  How does it make you feel and think about the web and community? How do you think Kawamura made this video?

Remember to include links, images, and credits in your article.

Friday, January 5, 2007

What Will You Do on MLK Day?

Student Assignment: Jennifer

Hillwood, like most schools in the city, has Martin Luther King Day off. Students can pay to join other kids at a day-long camp at the Exploratorium.

Write a news story announcing this camp. Include all of the key details, from times and cost. You may pull from the following, as well as the Exploratorium's website. You will also want to include what activities kids can join in on. Your story should be at least 10 to 15 sentences long.


One-Day Camps for kids ages 5–10
Give your kids the Exploratorium camp experience on school holidays and SFUSD furlough days. On Monday, January 17 (Martin Luther King Day), 5- and 6-year-olds investigate all things dirt, while 7- to 10-year-olds dissect owl pellets and examine microscopic pond organisms to learn about the food chain. To see a full list of camp dates and descriptions and preregister (required) your campers, visit our website.

January 12: Friday Assignments


  1. Alysen: The quake in Japan, and how to prepare for one in the Bay Area.
  2. Rubina H.: What was President Obama up to this week?
  3. Anya J.: How do kangaroos bounce?
  4. Camryn P., our roving, out-of-state reporter!: Make over a planet.
  5. Nikita: Make over a planet.
  6. Angela V.: Write a preview about ‘Mars Needs Moms.’
  7. Faryn D.:  A meteorologist's webpage for kids — tell what's most interesting to you.
  8. Erion H.: Make over a planet.
  9. Jay J.: Make over a planet.
  10. Jennifer L.: Pick and then write about an animal.
  11. Clara M.: Here's the latest DESIGN SQUAD challenge to review. Or write a preview about ‘Mars Needs Moms.’
  12. Zeke: Make over a planet.
  13. Jake: Make over a planet.
If you finish early:
  • Make an Animota video highlighting your DESIGN SQUAD work.
  • Use the website Flower Power to make an illustration, or image, for The Herald.

Science in the City: What Is It?

Students: Jay and Erion


The Exploritorium wants kids to kick off the new year with Science in the City! Scientists and staff at the museum are asking, Why are there so many one-footed pigeons? Where does sewage go? Who—or what—coordinates traffic lights? The Exploratorium's new Science in the City series investigates mysterious natural and human-made phenomena common to urban environments such as San Francisco. It will aslo be launching new online presentations that explore topics from engineering to ecology on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

Write a news story about the new exhibit. Remember to include links and source material. If time allows, create an Animoto video that highlights your story.