Monday, December 24, 2007

News from a neglectful blogger :(

The good news is that the Avon Schools and the Lorain Country Distance Learning Consortium (LCDLC) have been so busy it takes the first day of Christmas Break to update our blog… So here is the skinny... :)

This school year the Avon Schools purchased bulk programming from the Greenbush ESC providing our teachers a savings in cost, but even more importantly a window of scheduling before programs are offered to schools for single program purchase. These programs have been very popular for Avon East (grades 1-2) and Heritage South (grades 3-4) in the areas of science, math and language arts. Many of the programs come with materials and resources for the teachers to use as pre and post activities. We have been very please with Greenbush staff making this a great opportunity for Avon students.

Avon High School’s Spanish classes have been very active this fall and winter. AHS students under the guidance of Janice Ventresco have been proving kindergarten and first grade classes at North Elementary School in East Liverpool Spanish lessons one day a week. This is part of a grant with Columbiana County Educational Service Center. In the New Year the HS students will work with the AHS multimedia class to create podcasts of supporting material for the classes to use between connections or as a backup during a calamity day.

Technology Toolbox has been very active this year with 18 schools connecting on December 20th for our session on Podcasting. Schools from the LCDLC, NOTA, NOECA, Miami Country Day and Columbiana County receive the programs for free in exchange for collaborative projects done throughout the school year. Desktop Videoconferencing and Digital Storytelling will be added to the program list over the break. These sessions will be available in February.

Avon Middle School upgraded their Multimedia center combining DL and their computer lab. Avon MS is currently busting out at the seams room wise. The current media center does not have a good location for a multimedia projector so we decided to combine the rooms with two Plasma TV’s proving cable TV/channel 1, DL and a computer image for the lab. The Polycom and the two Plasma’s are hung from the ceiling can rotate 90 degrees proving different groups the opportunity to use the equipment.

The Avon IP test unit is still running and sites are welcome to dial in a use the system to test their connectivity. We try to keep a DVD of last year’s videoconferences playing in a loop so sites can test audio and video, but every once and a while we forget to switch back to the player or leave the volume down on the mixer (sorry about that, but that is what you get for free…). We do ask that sites not use far end control to switch our cameras. That causes problems for other sites dialing in after you have disconnected.

We are really looking forward to a great 2008 in videoconferencing. On behalf of the Avon Schools we wish everyone a Wonderful Holiday Season and look forward to seeing you online in 08!

Paul Hieronymus,
Curriculum Technology Coordinator
Avon Schools
Skype: Hairynomas

Educational Consultant
Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Avon HS students take a virtual tour of six colleges in one day

The LCDLC held their third annual virtual college tour, an all day videoconference featuring some of the top colleges in Ohio. Starting at 7:00 am, 22 schools from across Ohio, one site in PA & Indiana connected for their first University presentation. Each hour a different college took center stage presenting for the first 20mins and allowing the schools to ask questions directly. During each session 12 schools were deemed interactive for the Q & A portion of the conference. Sites that were not interactive were able to ask questions via email that were read by the conference moderators.

This year’s Virtual College tour featured presentations from Lorain Country Community College (LCCC), Miami of Ohio, University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Kent State and Bowling Green. The presentations from the Universities were excellent and the students from all of the schools had outstanding questions.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Map Skills for Today!

Third grade students at Avon Heritage North improved their knowledge of Map skills with and interactive lesson with the Muskingum Valley ESC. The students identified locations, identified facts from thematic maps and worked with latitude and longitude. This lesson was a great introduction to map for several of Avon’s third grade classes. To learn more about the Muskingum Valley ESC program offerings check them out on the web at

Monday, September 17, 2007

ooVoo hits the desktop IVC world. Does Skype need to worry?

The LCDLC has been trying out desktop Instant Messaging software that seems to be as good as Skype. ooVoo provides many of the features of Skype but allows users to conference with multiple webcams at one time. Like Skype, users can connect webcam to webcam, chat, and transfer documents in a seamless manner. Another new feature is video email that allows users to record a video message that can be sent through the ooVoo program for users that are currently off line. We have tested the system in our ITC network and from home with great results. The video looks as good if not a little better than Skype.

There are a couple of features not included in ooVoo that will keep Skype in my program list. At this point ooVoo does not support calls to LAN lines or provides any type of streaming (skypecast) of sessions. If this product takes off like Skype has I would expect to see many of the same features become available in the future updates.

While I am not ready to uninstall Skype at this time, I do plan to keep ooVoo on my laptop and look forward to watching this product develop. The one item I would love to see happen with either of these products would be the ability to dial our room systems. That dream may be a little lofty…

Citizenship: It's Your Right!

Third grade classes from Avon Heritage South enhanced their Constitution Day activities with a lesson on Citizenship with the Muskingum Valley ESC on Zanesville Ohio. The students discussed the roles students can play to be good citizens in their community.

This lesson featured a quiz of basic citizenship, video clips to enhance their lesson, problem solving activities and discussion. The Muskingum Valley ESC offers a variety of programs for Elementary Classrooms. Their programs can be found on the web at

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Avon Test Unit is back online!

The Avon Schools Test site is back online with a new number. Please use to test your video system. Currently the system is running video clips from last year with audio.

Looking for other test sites? I have created a list of test sites at If you know of any other sites please let me know via email at I would be happy to add them to the list.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Please give White Plains a vote!

Hi everyone,

Please take the time to help a fellow IVC site to win funding for a great project. I recently sat in on her presentation at NECC. It was fantastic. They are doing some great tings in White Plains.

My name is Jody Kennedy and I am a teacher in White Plains, New York. I have been working for 7 years on the development of global education programs for schools in order to prepare youth with the skills they will need for their future. We have been working with videoconferencing to connect our students to their peers and experts nationally and globally right from the classroom and the results have been very successful. Examples of many of our projects can be reviewed at

Recently ,I posted a project on the American Express members competiton. We made it to the top 50 out of over 7000 projects but need many, many votes to get further.

The project we submitted is to increase opportunities and experiences for global education in schools and to inspire a new generation of responsible global citizens.

It is called "Connect Kids Around the World" Project #07229 .

If you could circulate this request through your network it would help us very much. We only have one week left until they cut the finalists to 25.

Only Amex cardholders can vote. Just go to click on the vote button for "Connecting Kids around the World" make sure to confirm your vote as instructed. Special thanks for your efforts and support .

Jody Kennedy

Monday, July 02, 2007

Avon IP Test Unit Offline until August

The Avon Schools IP test unit is being moved from Avon Middle School to Heritage North Elementary School. Due to space constraints the AMS distance learning room/my office have to relocate. The Media center is being equipped with two plasma monitors that will be dropped from the ceiling providing the lab with a lab monitor to instruction and for the far site in videoconferencing.

The IP ( for the test unit will be moved to the Heritage North Polycom FX. A camera will be pointed out the window for connecting sites to test incoming video from our network. Sites are welcome to test their connections at any time the unit is available.

Looking for other test sites? I created a webpage of several test sites you can use to test your connectivity. . If you have a test site of you own I would love to add it to my list. Just send me ( the IP, speed preference if needed and any information you can give me about the site.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Great NECC Conference

Atlanta, Georgia was the host of the 2007 ISTE National Educational Computing Conference the last week of June. If you have not attended this conference, you should make your plans now for next year! The networking opportunities with other educators make it worth the trip alone. I enjoy the time I get to spend sharing ideas and developing partnerships with schools from around the country.

Conference Highlights:

1) SigIVC Forum: If you are not a member of ISTE or the SIGIVC the forum offered at the conference should make you want to sign up. This session was a networking session on steroids. The session started with an activity titled speed collaborating. 15 participants each had 2mins to promote an IVC success story. There were some great programs and opportunities. I represented the Avon Schools presenting the Artifact Exchange project. I met so many great educators and look forward to working with them next year.

2) Program sessions: The sessions I was able to attend were fantastic. The session on Hyper-mirror with Japan was exciting and the Global Run project sponsored by Tandberg was outstanding. Every session I attended provided me with new resources or ideas to use with our students.

3) Meeting with existing partners: You know a conference is going to be fun when you get to the conference early and you run into your IVC partners in the food court at CNN. It was so great to see Rowena Gerber from Miami Country Day with her friends of iEARN. It is so much fun to shake the hand of educators you have only seen on the video systems.

4) Meeting local content providers: I want to give a special thanks to Patty & Deborah from the Center of Puppetry Art Center for their tour of the museum, dinner and tour of Atlanta. I was amazed with the exhibits in the museum. If you ever get the chance you have to check it out. After dinner we were treated to a trip the Varsity and finished the evening looking over the city on top of the Westin center. It was great ending to a great conference.

5) Volunteering for the conference: This was my second year volunteering at NECC. Last year I was a facilitator, this year I helped in IVC Operations. This was a great experience! Working with operations provides such great learning opportunities with new equipment and challenging scenarios.

6) Socializing with friends: After conference hours are always fun. This year the Robert, Katrina and I purchased tickets to the Atlanta Braves through the conference. Other than the Braves loosing to the Tiggers and knocking my Cleveland Indians into second place it was a great time.

7) NECC Exhibit floor: This area can just be described as “BIG”. There are so many different technologies and software available to visit and learn more about their offerings. This year I was presently surprised to see Visual Communicator (formerly from Serious Magic) demoed in the Adobe both. This will be released in the fall.

8) NECC shuttle service: Last year my hotel was 15 block away and had no problem walking to my hotel each day in San Diego. This was not the case with the temperatures in the 90’s in Atlanta. Needless to say I was a fan of the NECC shuttle service running everyone from their hotels to the conference center.

9) NECC volunteers: Good volunteers make a good conference great. The volunteers working the rooms and the halls are always helpful.

10) Finally getting out of Atlanta International Airport: While my conference experience was wonderful my flight home was not as successful. After three gate changes, a lost plane and our terminal being closed during boarding I finally made my 10:00pm flight at 2:00am. Yes they lost our plane…. Around 12:30 in the evening the airline representative actually told the group that they lost our plane in transport to our gate. I have to admit this was a better alternative to the plane going to Alabama that was delayed do to a “violent sickness” that took place on their plane. I was never so happy to see the Cleveland skyline as I was at 4:00am from my plane.

Next year’s conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas. I would recommend talking to your administrators early to take advantage of early registration and housing. You can learn more about the NECC conference on the ISTE website at I hope to see you at the conference next year :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Avon Schools DL Program in Teacher Magazine

The Avon Schools and CILC had the priveledge of being featured in the May edition of Teacher Magazine on Using Content Providers. The article was written by Amanda Jones.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Farmer Duck tells his story to Avon East Elementary

The students from Manor Primary School in Ivybridge UK shared a wonderful play titled Farmer Duck. The cast consisted of Farmer Duck, hens, cows, sheep and the farmer. The frustrated duck was concerned that the sleeping farmer was not taking care of the animals and took the farm under his wing by carrying out the farmers chores. In the evening the animals entered the farmer’s house to make them selves at home scaring the farmer from his home. All of the animals were happy with the duck and deemed him head of the farm making all of the animals happy.

The performance was a follow up on a field trip to a local farm. The students shared collages of farms. The efforts by the students were outstanding. They took great care creating the collages especially the sheep made of cotton, pipe cleaners and Q-tips.

Avon is in their final days of school making this the final connection between the classes. We have enjoyed the opportunity for the students to meet online and to have a better understanding of what life is like in their country. We look forward to expanding this partnership next school year.

Manor Primary has been a pleasure to work with. Will Davies the coordinator and teacher from Manor has been great to work with. We hope to do more with his school and expand our partnerships in the future.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Broken Trail from Western Reserve to Avon

Middle school language arts classes from Avon and Western Reserve schools finished their collaborative story the Broken Trail as part of NOECA Intercom’s chapter project. The classes met over video to share their chapters and to provide their conclusions. The classes took turns reading their first and second chapters then acted out the conclusion to their partnered class. The distance learning room in Avon was transformed into a barn yard with students dressed as the animals of the story. It was quite a production for the connecting site.

The chapter program pairs classroom teachers from different schools with the task of writing a collaborative story. Mr. Casper’s class wrote chapter one which was followed by Mrs. Pelphrey’s class. Both classes wrote their own conclusion to the story which was compared and contrasted at the end of the videoconference. The students put forth great effort creating the chapters and the props were fantastic.

To learn more about the chapter project or to participate next year check out the project on the web at

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Avon Heritage South students take virtual tour of tropical rainforests with the Buffalo Zoo

Third graders from Avon Heritage South take a virtual tour of Buffalo Zoo with a focus on topical rainforests. The session lead by Rebecca Balk from the zoo was highly interactive and exciting for the students. The class identified the layers of the rainforest and the animals that make that location their home. Rebecca discussed the physical characteristics that make them successful in that layer. Several insects were placed on the document camera for the students to get an up close and personal view of them and their unique adaptations.

The students were also treated to a live viewing of some the animals in the zoo through camera placed in their exhibits. The students enjoyed the cameras of the sloth and a close up of the animals face. The camera angles and picture quality were amazing. The students had a better view of the exhibits than if they were onsite. Rebecca has the ability to move and zoom her cameras around the exhibit to make the live viewing exciting for the students.

The Buffalo Zoo is a program that has become a staple in our teacher’s curriculum. Mrs. Johnson has scheduled this program for the third straight year. She actually contacted the zoo in October to schedule the program in May. To learn more about the Buffalo Zoo and their distance learning programs you can visit them on the web at

Friday, May 18, 2007

If I were a Goldfish

First graders from Avon East took time out of science class to share what life would be like as a gold fish with the Life Science Education Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. The students took a closer look at a gold fish and the characteristics it has to live in water while discussing the characteristics that allow them to live on land.

Once the characteristics were defined and put to motion with our presenter the class played an exciting game of habitat bingo. Students were shown a habit on the screen while the students marked off the animal on their paper that would call that location home. The students were also treated to an interactive look an animal adaptations to their environment through activities directed by the presenter.

This session was our first experience with the Life Science Center but it will not be our last. The session was very interactive, and kept the class engaged throughout the lesson. To learn more about the Life Science Education Center and their distance learning program you can visit them on the web at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Avon plays active role in the Northern Ohio Distance Learning Year End Showcase

The Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium, NOTA network and the Columbiana Distance Learning Consortiums hosted their year end showcase again this year at the Lorain County Community College. The Avon Schools distance learning program represented four of the eighteen presenters this year sharing some of our favorite videoconferences of the year. Michelle O’Hara and Peggy Masin from Avon East Elementary school presented the Holiday Traditions conference and their terrarium collaboration with Miami Country Day school in Miami Florida. Paul Hieronymus presented Follow the North Star program from Conner Prairie on behalf of Avon Heritage North and Country of the Week with the School of Life on behalf of Avon Heritage South Elementary School.

This year the showcase provided four remote presenters from the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth Texas, Melissa Higgs-Horwell from the SCOCA consortium, Valerie Erwin from East Liverpool Schools and Mike Griffith from Global Leap. The conference was opened to remote viewers for the first time as well this year with sites from the SOITA and LACA consortiums. The showcase was kicked off this year by Thomas Rockwell – Superintendent of the Lorain County Educational Service Center and Jillian Froment from Ohio eTech.

During lunch it was great to hear from our teachers how much they enjoyed the day. The common buzz around the room was comments about all of the different programs that had taken place this year in our consortium.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What ever the Weather with the Lorain County Metro Parks

Student from Avon East and Harris Elementary School were treated to a lesson on weather with the Lorain County Metro Parks from the French Creek Nature Center. The students discuss the relationship the earth and the sun have to make our atmosphere and the weather patterns. Several experiments were demonstrated to show air pressure, temperature and win velocity. The students were connected as part of their classroom partnerships and will connect again to do experiments with each others classes.

The Lorain County Metro Parks are a member of the Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium and provide programming to sites in the consortium at no cost, but will connect to other consortiums or schools on demand.

To learn more about the Lorain County Metro Parks and their program offerings you can visit them on the web at

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Avon Celebrates Country of the Week with The School of Life – Jordon

Mrs. Clark and Michelich’s third grade students were honored to be contacted by the School of Life in Amman, Jordan for their country of the week program. The students from Avon were treated to information about their country through presentations by the second through fifth grade classes from the School of Life. At the end the class sang their national anthem which is sung each morning. The Avon students shared the pledge of allegiance with their students. A PowerPoint created by the Avon class’s shared information about the United States and the city of Avon. The students took turns presenting slides and adding information that they felt highlighted our community.

Once the formal presentations were completed the students enjoyed a time of questions and answers. Our students were amazed to hear that Amman, Jordan not only had snow this winter but had snow days. The sharing of common interests and activities made the students feel comfortable and they enjoyed their conversations. We were impressed to hear the languages studied and the common books read and used.

When the session was over the students shared my favorite comment I hear time and time again with connections outside of our state; “those kids were just like us”. It is amazing how a third grader can summarize the power of international collaborations. The fact that the students reinforced many of our state standards while broadening their understanding of other countries speaks volumes.
We hope to see the School of Life online again in the future!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Avon East students take a virtual tour of our Solar System with NASA Johnson

Second grade students from Avon East Elementary School took a virtual tour of our solar system with the NASA Johnson Center in Houston Texas. Using their vast selection of images and video the students received a tour with the NASA Staff. The education director took a closer look at each of the planets and our sun.

The students enjoyed the images and animations used to detail the objects of our Solar System. This program was a great introduction to our teacher’s space unit. The session was scheduled as a multipoint connection with a school in New York for our morning session and a school in Minnesota in our afternoon connection.

NASA is a great content provider and best of all there sessions are FREE to schools in the U.S. This provides schools with great resources to enhance our science curriculum. To learn more about programming you can visit them on the web at

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Muskingum Valley ESC hops into Avon’s science curriculum

First graders from Avon East Elementary School enhanced their science curriculum through an interactive videoconference with the Muskingum Valley ESC. Students shared their knowledge about frogs and amphibians are learned so much more during the interactive session.

The lesson was a combination of PowerPoint, streamed video and an interactive game to review the concepts covered during the session. The students were engaged by the instructor and kept on task through the media rich presentation. This program is aligned to our first grade science standards. The entire 1st grade combined to participate in four sessions with MVESC.

The Muskingum Valley ESC offers programs to schools through the Ohio K-12 video network scheduled on demand. To learn more about the MVESC and their distance learning programming you can check them out on line at

Thursday, March 29, 2007

IVDL participates in Heritage Science Night

The distance learning department was a module of the 2007 Avon Heritage North and South Science Night. Students and parents had the opportunity to take part in a videoconference while taking a closer look at our planet and solar system using Google Earth and Celestia.

Students and parents learned more about the distance learning project and the virtual journeys their children have taken this school year. The parents were a bit camera shy but enjoyed learning about the technology and how the Avon Schools are using videoconferencing to enhance their curricula.

Once the butterflies were gone, the group looked at satellite images of our planet using Google Earth. This was followed up by a virtual tour of our solar system using Celestia. These open sources programs provide students an interactive look at our planet and solar system.

This opportunity is a great way for the community to better understand interactive videoconferencing. This is third year participating in this program. Each year we catch a parent commenting on the power of the technology and how lucky our students are for having this unique opportunity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Avon High School and Middle School students learn about careers in photography

Students from Avon’s Alternative School Career Connections and students from Avon High School’s Multimedia classes connected to WVIZ PBS Ideastream for a career session on photography. From the TV studio at PBS 25 professional photographers gave up their time to discuss their jobs, the equipment they use and the positives and negatives of the careers.

Using the Ohio K-12 video network bridges at eTech Ohio both schools were connected with several schools from Ohio. The students from Career Connections have the opportunity to learn about many different trades through interactive video without having to leave the school or to have guests visit their classroom.

WVIZ provides schools in Ohio with exciting and rich programming through their partnership with Playhouse Square and visitors to WVIZ PBS Ideastream. To learn more about distance learning programming through WVIZ visit them on the web at

Friday, March 23, 2007

Ohio and UK students vote for their topic on collaborative story

The students from Mrs. Danielson’s 4th grade class and Mr. Kemp’s class in Bamford Primary School voted on the topic for their collaborative story. The teachers exchanged topics created by their classes. By an over whelming vote by both classes the students selected the title Haunted House.

The story will involve two children playing a game of football (soccer to the US students). The ball get kicked into a garden and lost. The children plan to get the ball back the next day at school. Bamford Primary School will be creating the first chapter of the story and will present the chapter to Mrs. Danielson’s class for her class to continue the story writing chapter 2.

In addition to the writing project the students have been paired as pen pals for written expression activities. Blogs have been created for each of the paired students to share ideas over the blog. We look forward to seeing the writing that the students will share and the story.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Avon and Manor Primary School conduct virtual show and tell

Mrs. Masin’s 2nd graders and their partner class from Manor Primary School in Ivybridge United Kingdom conducted a virtual show and tell for their meet and greet session. The students from both classes brought in their favorite objects to help each other learn more about each other’s schools. The rooms were filled with stuffed animals, sports cards, books, monster trucks and a tremendous amount of excitement.

It was amazing how similar all of the students and there items were and the communication between the classes. This session occurred as the last activity of day for Manor, but with the extra bridge time students from both classes were able to talk beyond the scheduled time with students entering the room for after school activities. The teachers sat back and let the students share information about their clubs and after school activities. The session was a pleasant surprise for both groups.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It all “adds up” at the end of the day

Avon Middle School students were part of an observed lesson over videoconferencing with teachers from Columbiana County. As part of a collaboration with Columbiana County and Kent State University teachers from schools listed in academic emergency by the Ohio Department of Education observe schools that are scoring excellent rating on their report cards. Instead of pulling classroom teachers from their school to observe classes Columbiana County is using videoconferencing.

Avon Middle School moved their Polycom to a smaller cart that was placed at the back of the classroom while Mr. Cable ran his class as he would any other day. The teachers connected through an MCU in Columbus observed the lesson from start to finish. When the students left Mr. Cable stayed connected to answer questions about the Avon Math department and the structure of his classes.

This was the first time the Avon Schools have participated in an online observation. We found this to be a great way to demonstrate the efforts of our staff and hope to do more programs like this for schools in our state. As a Technology Coordinator is was fun to see a class in action. I was impressed with the lesson and the student’s responses during the class and felt that Ben represented the district well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Are the cookies done yet??

Mr. Nortz fifth grade science classes discussed home made solar ovens with Roweena Gerber from Miami Country Day School in Miami Florida. As part of a iEARN project students learned about alternative energy and how to make a solar oven out objects found around their home. Mrs. Gerber used a Solar Oven kit to show the process of solar cooking to the Avon students as well as some of the solar ovens created by her students. Once the students understood the concept they were charged with the task of creating their own ovens.

The students created designs of their ovens in science class and once approved the students began construction. The designs will be sent to a school in Australia for replication. Through a generous donation of Pizza Boxes by Cici’s pizza, the students brought in objects that they wanted to the boxes to create their own ovens. The classes will test their ovens locally on a sunny day to see how hot the ovens can reach and will follow up with another videoconference with students from Miami Country Day. The Avon students will present their ovens before they send the plans to Australia.

We hope to add photos of our ovens to our next post! We currently have 35 ovens created and look forward to testing them as soon as the sun & wind cooperates.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

North vs. South Virtual Spelling Bee

Miss Neushafer’s 5th grade class from Avon Heritage North took on the students from South Amherst Middle Schools in an exciting game on virtual spelling. The classes created were divided into teams of four. Each group gave the competing team a word from their spelling lists followed by the word in a sentence. Correct answers allowed the teams car to be moved on a game card created by the teams.

This fun activity was a unique activity was a fun review activity for both classes to enhance their curriculum. The students from both sites enjoyed the game and interacting with their partner site.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Students celebrate literacy with Michigan for Read Across The Planet

Mrs. Karasevic’s 3rd grade class met students from Mt. Morris Elementary School in Michigan. The students shared information about their state and community. The class from Mt Morris used the letters of Michigan to give us facts about their community and State. The students did a great job presenting over the system and had great facts.

Mrs. Karasevic’s class created a PowerPoint about the City of Avon that the students presented to class in Michigan. The students shared images of our city and how the city has changes over the years. Each student was assigned a slide to create and present to our partner class. This project provides the class the opportunity to meet social studies standards on communities and reading and presentation skills. The class followed the presentation with a Readers Theatre presentation on Appelemondo’s dream (a story from our reading book). The students did a great job reading the story to our partner class.

At the end the classes had the opportunity to ask questions our school and community. The classes enjoyed learning about each others schools and discovering how much the schools had in common.
This opportunity is part of the Read Across the Planet project managed by the TWICE Consortium in Michigan. To learn more about the Read Across the Planet project you can visit the project website at

Friday, March 02, 2007

Avon Students “Conduct” great experiments with Greenbush ESC in Kansas

Mrs. Grabert and Masin’s second grade students took part in a great lesson on electricity with the Greenbush IDL program out of Girard, Kansas. The students did several experiments with batteries and light bulb to determine what items were the best conductors of electricity. Students were given a bag full of items ranging from yarn to paper clips. The students had to make a hypothesis as to the connectivity of the item then test with a battery and light bulb. Once the student experiments were completed the a diagram was created to show which items were conductors, were not conductors and which items were both depending on the parts used.

This lesson was a great activity that will help the students meet Ohio’s science standards and reinforce lessons that the classes will be completing this school year. The session was rewarding and fun for all of the students. We look forward to future lessons with the Greenbush IDL program.

To learn more about Greenbush and their program opportunities check them out of the web at

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How was your day Forest Heights Elementary School?

Mrs. Cogar’s second grade class and students from Forest Heights Elementary School in Baton Rouge Louisiana met over the videoconferencing system to hear an interactive story read by Paul Hieronymus. The classes enjoyed seeing their locations on Google Earth and meeting each other on line. Once the introductions were complete the students enjoyed the story Today was a Terrible Day by Patricia Reilly Giff.

Using the document camera the students were shown the pictures in the book as the story was read to them. After each page the camera was switched back to the reader for comments as the page was turned. This was a crude copy of Reading Rainbow but it worked for the students.

After the story the students from both classes shared examples of things that lead to a terrible day and what events can make it a great day. The students had great things to share. This was a nice opportunity for the students to see each other and interact.

We hope to have other terrific days with Forest Heights in the future!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

5th graders from Avon Heritage North Follow the North Star with Conner Prairie

Miss Rottman’s and Mrs. Eckers 5th grade students were transformed into run away slaves trying to make it to the “Free” states and become free man and women. The Conner Prairie Living Museum in Indiana serves as the classes guide as they travel from house to house on the Underground Railroad. The travel is difficult and consequences are high for the students but thanks to help from the Quakers the students have a chance to be free.

Conner Prairie uses video from a reenactment of the journey with students. As the students travel from house to house the presenter from Conner Prairie discussed the status of their journey and help the students understand what had occurred and what would happen next. This helped reinforce the information provided in the video.

This was a great opportunity for the students a unique view of the Underground Railroad.

To learn more about Conner Prairie and their Educational programs offered through videoconferencing vist them online at

Monday, February 26, 2007

Dr. Dina Might visits Avon East Elementary School

Mrs. Hartwell and O’Hara’s second grade students learned more about Dinosaurs through a videoconference with the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo. Dr. Dina Might help the students compare and contrast animals at the Zoo with Dinosaurs. The students enjoyed seeing images of dinosaurs and learning how Paleontologist discovered and what they have learned about their remains.

The presenter did a great job using local animals to point out many of the characteristics that are in common with these amazing creatures of our worlds past. Using the document camera the students took a closer look at the scales on a bearded dragon. This provided the students a better understanding of the animals.

This program was a great introduction to extinction and animals adaptations. To learn more about the programs offered by the Cleveland Zoo you can visit them on the web at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hello Houston…we do NOT have a problem!

Mrs. Meikle’s fifth grade students at Avon Heritage North Elementary School presented their plans for a trip to Mars with the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas. The students were divided into four groups that planned travel from Earth to Mars, landing on the planet and the exploration that would be done during their stay.

The students did a fantastic job planning their trip. The students created models drew pictures of their rockets and rovers. The students had to identify many of the characteristics of the atmosphere and the surface of planet to make sure their journey was a success. Each group determined how many astronauts they would send to Mars. The groups calculated the food, water and oxygen needed for all of the members to survive. Each of the groups had different theories on how they would grow food, find water and create energy for their shelters and equipment.

This project was a fantastic opportunity for the students to work in groups, meet many of their content standards as well as practice their presenting skills. All of the students were required to present a part of their project. This program is a two part program run by the NASA Johnson Center. While the project was a lot of work to complete the students and teachers enjoyed the activities. It was a great project that we look forward to doing it again.

To learn more about the NASA distance learning programs check them out on the web at

Friday, February 09, 2007

Peter and the Wolf visit Avon East Elementary School

Mrs. Hartwell and O’Hara’s second graders had a wonderful visit from Peter and the Wolf. The composition was narrated and performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Metropolitan Classical Ballet. The students enjoyed the lovely sounds of the Orchestra and the dancers were fantastic.

This introduction to the Orchestra was great experience for the students. The program was narrated in English and Spanish and each character was represented by an instrument in the Orchestra. This provided the students with an opportunity to learn more about the instruments and their sounds.

The Peter and the Wolf program was our districts first connection to the Bass Performance Hall. The call was scheduled through the Connect 2 Texas group in Fort Worth Texas. We were pleased with the programming and look forward to more connections.

If you want to check out the programming from Connect to Texas check them out on the web at

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Avon Heritage South and Bamford share their communities

Mrs. Danielson’s 4th graders from Avon Heritage South connected this morning to their partner school in England. The students from Bamford Primary School brought in items that they felt best represents their local community and shared them with our students. The room was filled with sports equipment, fishing rods and games that the students use in their daily life. Our students were amazed with the similarities between our classes.

The classes followed up with an exchange of questions about their favorite celebrities, sporting events and school activities. The students enjoyed a fun discussion on the difference between the rugby and American football. This program was a great way for the students to learn first hand about the United Kingdom. We appreciate Mike Griffith’s efforts from Global Leap to bring our classes together, provide an MCU to connect our schools and technical support. Without his efforts we would still be making alls nationally.

If you have not had a chance to check out the Global Leap Project it is well worth your time. Mike Griffith and his family provide a friendly gateway to the UK and many parts of the world. The can be found on the web at .

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Penguin-Polooza hits Avon, Ohio

Avon students enhanced their Penguin units with a connection to the Columbus Zoo. The students shared their knowledge of Penguins and their habits with Carrie from the Zoo. The lesson met many of Ohio’s curriculum standards of science, geography and math. The students enjoyed the video provided through the system of penguins in the Columbus Zoo habitat.

One of the most exciting parts of the session was the transformation of one of the students to a penguin. The students identified the body parts of a penguin as they were added to the student. The student demonstrated the way the penguins walk as the instructor explained the advantages the have in their environment. Two students then demonstrated the way penguins care for their eggs and how difficult it is for them to move with eggs and babies.

The Avon Schools will be connecting the Columbus Zoo all week with third grade classes as part of the grade level unit. This program is not listed on the Columbus Zoo programming list, but they will schedule classes upon request. The Columbus Zoo is one of many of the great content providers in Ohio.

You can check out the Columbus Zoo and their distance learning offerings online at

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Avon East and Manor Primary get the “Point” of meeting through IVC with an interactive story.

Mrs. Mason’s second grade students started the day and Mrs. Parker’s students ended the day with Lisa Wheeler’s story Porcupining read over the videoconferencing system. The classes connected at 9:30am Avon time and 2:30pm Manor time which was a surprise to both classes. After the classes had a chance to greet each other the students learned more about each others communities and locations with Google Earth. Using satellite images of each others schools the students were able to see a bird’s eye view of each others towns. The Avon students loved to see Manor’s swimming pool and the their beautiful campus.

Once the students had a better understanding of each others locations the classes were read the story Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story by Lisa Wheeler. Using a document camera the classes were able to see pictures from the story book while the story was read over the videoconferencing systems. This program served as a kickoff to a writing and comprehension project that will take place over the video systems and email.

The Avon Schools are thrilled to working with Manor Primary School and look forward to our next videoconference!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Avon and Firelands students enhance written expression through Mystery Box project

Miss Neushafer’s fifth grade students shared their imaginations writing skills through a collaborative project with Mrs. Barr’s class at South Amherst Middle School. The students sent a box of clues of a crime scene to each others schools. The students had to predict what happened based on the evidence, write a description of what occurred and identify the person guilty of the crime.

The classed connected in a videoconference with their partner school and took turns reading their accounts. The stories were well written, full of exciting events. The students really enjoyed reading their stories over the systems. This activity provided the students with a fun way to work on their written expression as well as problem solving.

Could this be the next spin off of CSI??

Avon Students kick off Black History Month with the Vanderbilt Virtual School

Students from Avon Heritage South and North had the opportunity to learn more about the fight for freedom for African American Slaves. Dr. Frank Dobson from the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center discussed the struggle for the Northern and Southern states to abolish slavery. The students were treated to a video about Franklyn Douglas and a brief history of the slave trade.

Dr. Dobson did a great job stressing that the battle to end slavery was not just an issue with the Southern states. Examples of events that occurred in both regions of the United States and how difficult it was for slaves to escape bondage were described to the students.

This session was a great introduction to our teachers units on the Underground Railroad. The students had the opportunity to ask questions to Dr. Dobson and to get a better perspective of events. We want to thank Vanderbilt College for this great opportunity.

If you would like to learn more about their programming you can visit them on the web at

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Greenbush IDL sure sounds interesting

If a sound is made in a videoconference can the students hear it?

Mrs. Scaletta’s second grade science students took a
closer look at sound
with the Greenbush science center in Kansas. The students were given tuning forks, plastic and string provided by Greenbush for experiments with sounds.

This session was a great activity for the Avon students to have better
understanding of sound, the inner ear and how sound waves travel through the air to the human ear.

The students loved the activities and recorded great data involving volume
and pitch. This session is aligned to Ohio’s science standards for second grade and provides a great introduction to Mrs. Scaletta’s science unit.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cosi Toledo sounds like fun

Mrs. Hartwell and O’Hara’s second grade students get a better understanding of sound waves through experiments with Cosi Toledo. Andy Campbell led the class through several activities demonstrating sound and vibrations. The students really enjoyed the program and we look forward to doing more programs with Cosi Toledo.

This session with permission from Cosi was recorded from the Avon High School media students. The AHS media connected to eTech Ohio through their new Polycom EX that is connected to their editing equipment for recording. The class will edit the footage add a teacher intro and will play the session on our cable access channel provided by Time Warner Cable. Avon families will have the opportunity to see the video lesson on Channel 22 to see the great activities occurring through interactive videoconferencing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Show me your WIKI??? I hardly know you….

The LCDLC Technology Toolbox Series of professional development had another successful session providing members and nonmember schools the opportunity to learn about wiki’s and how they can be used as an online collaboration tool. Teachers from Avon, Avon Lake, Marlington, South Amherst and Tiffin Calvert connected over the videoconferencing systems to take a closer look at Wikipedia and several of the free online wiki builders on the internet for them to use.

There was great dialog between the teachers on using Wikipedia and the group discussed the many different applications wiki’s can be used for in a K-12 environment. After the overview the groups walked through the process of creating their own wiki’s using and the security features the program provides. We look forward to seeing the resources that will be created from this presentation.

Technology Toolbox sessions are offered once a month on a variety of topics ranging from Blogs to Podcasting. The sessions are free to LCDLC members and cost non member school districts only $50.00. Interested teachers can learn more about Technology Toolbox at .

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Avon Students blast off to Mars with NASA Johnson Space Center

Mrs. Meikle’s 5th grade science students enhanced their science curriculum through an interactive videoconference with the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas. The students were treated to a multimedia rich lesson on Mars and NASA’s mission to the red planet. The videos and images shared to our classes were incredible and provided students a better understanding of our solar system.

The students were issued a challenge to plan a trip to Mars. Once the class was divided into two groups the class learned that the two groups had different tasks to complete, but the groups need to work with each other. Each group was issued three objectives to complete from planning the launch window to and from the planet and how to produce food and find water.

This session was the first of two programs offered by the Johnson Space Center. February 20th the classes will connect to Houston to present the plan to explore Mars. The students have some difficult tasks ahead of them. We look forward to sharing our plans and research collected.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Science “attracts” attention with the Greenbush ESC

Miss Giardini and Mrs. Scalletta’s first grade students participated in a great lesson on magnets with the Greenbush ESC in Girard Kansas. The students were given bar, horseshoe and circle magnets for experiments lead by the instructor. The students used metal shavings to view the magnetic fields created by the different shapes of magnets.

Once the students had a better understanding of how the magnets attracted mental the students hypothesized which magnet was the strongest. Using paper clips the students tested each of the magnets and compare their results.

One of the high lights of the conference for the students and teachers were an activity involving magnets and money. No one would have guessed it would be the dollar bill that would be moved by the magnet.

This was a great program provided by the Greenbush Educational Service Center in Kansas. Check out the IDL program online at

Friday, January 12, 2007

CSI Avon, Ohio

Mr. Kelly’s ninth and tenth grade health classes help solve a murder mystery while learning about DNA with Health Space Cleveland.

The students shared their research articles on DNA with Mr. Bliss from health space and learned many new facts about the Human Genome Project. The students developed a better understanding of how DNA is playing an active role in our society. The students were surprised to hear what percentage of DNA they shared with each other and other species.

Once the students were in the DNA zone they were able to use there skills in a scientific game of who done it. The crime scene was described and the DNA samples were delivered to the groups in broken down amino acids. The scientific process of DNA identification was demonstrated. The students marked out the strands and compared their strand to a sample taken from the victim. The crime was solved and justice was done!

This session titled Genetic Revolution was one of many great programs offered by Health Space Cleveland. Check them out on the web at

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Avon cuts over to the LEECA Fiber Project

The Avon Schools cut over to the LEECA Fiber Project providing the district with increased bandwidth to Elyria and to Columbus. A much needed upgrade was made to the LEECA network to Columbus providing all of the districts with much need breathing room. With an increase of videoconferencing traffic over the past years the Avon district is looking forward to increased bandwidth.

The Avon Schools have taken advantage of the model upgrade from Polycom by purchasing two Polycom EX view stations at closeout prices. One system is to replace Avon High Schools Vtel Galaxy system purchased through the IVDL Grant trough Ohio SchoolNet. This system has well earned its retirement, but as long as it makes and received calls it will stay at AHS.

Te second system has been added to the Avon HS TV studio for capturing video collaborations for editing and posting to their district cable access channel. This will provide media students the opportunity to edit and publish many of the great events that occur over videoconferencing.

The purchase of the two additional end points brings the school district to seven videoconferencing systems providing the students of Avon great opportunities to enhance their curriculum in the future.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Avon welcomes new partners to the LCDLC

Starting in January the Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium welcomes two new members to our virtual family. The Fairview School district has joined the consortium bringing Fairview High School to the consortium and in the 2007 their new elementary school will be added. The Fairview Schools are in the same athletic conference which will bring the districts together academically as well as athletically. We look forward to working with their students and teachers this year and in years to come.

Firelands Schools a member since the consortium was created took advantage of the Polycom Viewstation closeouts purchasing a Polycom EX for Firelands Elementary School. The Firelands School District has been making great strides in the academic performances these last years. We are looking forward to their continued success and to work with them in the future.