DENSI2012 = Awesome!

Filed Under (DENSI2012) by Patti Harju on 24-07-2012

I am having a great time networking and learning at the Discovery Educator Summer Institute in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. The view from my dorm room is spectacular. What a great way to begin each day.

I am thrilled to be among so many amazing educators and am a bit star struck. Many of these people are my Tech Idols and it is great to be learning from and with them. Luckily it is okay to ask for autographs as we are signing each others’  Trading Cards and DENgo sheets.


We had a great time visiting Yellowstone on Sunday. I have never been to Yellowstone, or this far West before. The High Altitude does take some getting used to – I need to stay hydrated and running in the mountains leaves me pretty winded. Yellowstone was beautiful. We saw hot springs, and geysers and a buffalo. Old Faithful did not disappoint and we were able to see her blow her top twice during our visit.


Our first day of sessions was packed with great speakers and I am still sorting through all I learned. I very much enjoyed Karen Ogen’s session and made my first Popplet with her help. I used my pictures from Yellowstone in the Popplet and found it such an easy tool to use. I can see my second graders having no trouble at all learn this tool and start creating. (See Popplet Below.)

This evening I participated in my first ever DEN-mazing Race. I had a great time as did everyone else. Porter Palmer did a fantastic job putting it all together. I enjoyed working with my team, and getting the help of other teams along the way. All of the events were fun (easy for me to say as I did not have to put the horse head on) and not too difficult.

I am happy to be here and look forward to more great days of learning.


I Spy in Second Grade

Filed Under (Glogster, I Spy, Kidblog) by Patti Harju on 29-01-2012

2nd Graders will be Skyping with Author Jean Marzollo ( on Tuesday. Ms. Marzollo is the author of the I Spy books. We created a class collage with items the children brought in (and many items that I found in my desk – I really need to clean.) The students wrote poems that rhyme (not as easy as it sounds) and we posted them on our Kidblog.
We sent the link to Ms. Marzollo and she replied that she read them all and complimented the children!

The students also created I Spy Collages on Edu.Glogster. You will find those on our class wiki.
Ms. Marzollo Re-Tweeted my Tweet about our I Spy Glogs!

Also in preparation for our chat we watched a movie showing how Ms. Marzollo and photographer Walter Wick worked together to create the I Spy books. We have the I Spy Spooky Nights app on our class iPads and we watched some of Discovery Education’s collection of I Spy Videos.

This will be our second author chat this year. The first was author Erin Dealy author of Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox. We plan to Skype with Ms. Dealey again soon.

I Spy and Glogster

Filed Under (Glogster) by Patti Harju on 22-01-2012

The second graders have been playing with Glogster this week. They are creating collages with as many of the graphics as they want. This is a great introduction and exploration activity for the students. They get to play with with Glogster, which is the best way for them to learn all that Glogster has to offer. The first challenge is to find at least one pair of items that rhyme. We looked and together made a list of a few of the rhyming pairs. Bear-hair, skate-eight, star-guitar. After they finish creating their collages, we will work to write the rhymes and add them to our glogs. Follow this link to see some of the Glogs under construction. Check back in a week to view the finished products.

I saw one of my second graders over the weekend, and the first thing he said to me was, “Did you see what I did to my Glog?” I of course promised to check it out right away!

We have been reading the I Spy books in class in preparation for a Skype Chat with Jean Marzollo, the author of the I Spy rhymes.

Global Collaboration Music Video and Rock Our World

Filed Under (Collaboration, Music, Rock Our World) by Patti Harju on 12-11-2011

1000+ students
43 schools
6 continents

Rock Our World – founded by the DEN’s Carol Anne McGuire, the band Alma Desnuda and over 1000+ students from around the world collaborated on this amazing Global Music Video. We were the representatives from Michigan and we had a great time. Each class filmed video clips to send to the band and recorded singing of the lyrics. We are all represented and are proud to be part of this amazing project. Visit Youtube to LIKE the video and spread the word. We want the world to see it and sing with us! We Love the Life We Got!

Ready to Rock!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Patti Harju on 06-09-2011

Thanks to a grant from MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) my second graders and I will be Rockin’Our World with a brand new iMac desktop computer!
As part of Rock Our World we will use our iMac to make music (Garageband), learn about Healthy Habits, and video chat with students all over the world! Rock Our World’s lead Rocker is DEN Star Carol Anne McGuire. I met Carol Anne during DENSI-2010 in Boston. She has created an amazing collaboration opportunity! Thank you MACUL for the Grant and thank you to the DEN for the Carol Anne connection! Woo Hoo!

2nd Grade Rainforest Facts and Fun

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Patti Harju on 27-03-2011

I had a great time working with my 2nd graders on this Rainforest Movie. All images and video clips of the Rainforest are from Discovery Education. The kids enjoyed searching through the Discovery Education website for the images and I was happy knowing they were searching in a safe place. They found many great images and video clips.
When we film, we cover the back wall with Green screen Material, and the students practice reading their parts. When filming begins, they know what to do when we yell “Quiet on the Set!”
The first video is the Movie Trailer we created to tease the parents before our Movie was released at our School’s Academic Night. The Rainforest Facts and Fun Movie is below.

Wikis and Web 2.0

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Patti Harju on 21-03-2011

Last week I was honored to present “Wikis and Web 2.0 in the Elementary Classroom” at MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning.) The MACUL conference is a highlight of my Tech Year, especially as Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson are often presenters. Much of what I know and have included in my presentation I can trace back to a past Steve or Hall session. Here is the ppt from my session, although I am embarrassed that it is not a Prezi (still getting the hang of that one) or that I did not include transitions (my 2nd graders create amazing ppts with transitions and sound effects.) I love to talk tech and am always happy to answer any questions about my presentation.

Rock Our World = Wow!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Patti Harju on 16-11-2010

This fall my 2nd graders participated in Rock Our World, a Global Collaborative Project founded by the DEN’s own Carol Anne McGuire. Since September we have been making music and collaborating with classrooms all over the US and the World. We made music together every week when we added an instrument to another school’s Garageband track. We have Skyped with schools in Peru, Poland, Canada, and New Zealand as well as US schools in Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California. We worked with Peter Reynolds, author and illustrator of “The Dot” and “Ish”. He provided us with his Animation-ish software and we worked on Animations around the theme of Peace. This Saturday is our Family Day where we will meet the other classes in real time via Ustream. We will be interviewed by Carol Anne’s students, see the Peace Animations each school created and learn more about the other schools in the project.

I know I am gushing when I talk about this project. It has been incredible! I have learned as much as the students. I cannot believe how often and easily I am scheduling Skype calls with other classes. I love how the students look forward to them and am amazed at how much they learn and remember from each call.   The children and I have enjoyed it and do not want it to end! Carol Anne has created something truly wonderful and I am so thankful that I was a part of it.

Polar Bears and 2nd Graders!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Patti Harju on 16-11-2010

Today the 2nd graders and I tuned into the Tundra Connection with Discovery’s own Lance Rougeux. It was amazing! It was 11 am our time, which meant we were supposed to go to lunch in 20 min. When 11:20 arrived the children opted to eat in the classroom and continue watching the Webcast. They were attentive throughout the entire program and loved seeing a live Polar Bear on the ice. They learned a great deal and we will be blogging about it on our classroom blog.

Here are some of the things the 2nd graders learned today during our “working lunch”.

When polar bears get old, their claws turn white.
Some of the older polar bears had scars on their noses from fights with other bears.
Polar bears lose their teeth in fights too. One polar bear had a tooth that fell out, and it got infected and the infection spread to his nose.
Polar bears eat only the skin and fat from a seal. They do not want to eat the protein because it makes them need water and water to drink is hard to get in the Arctic.
The mother bear was 800 pounds when she was expecting her babies.
Polar bears cannot live anywhere else, not even Pennsylvania!
That is why we have to work hard to save the environment and slow Global Warming.
We have to recycle, reuse and reduce.
We need to save energy by turning off TV’s and lights when we do not need them.
We should lower the heat and wear a sweater.

Tomorrow we will take the Polar Bear quiz and see what else we know about Polar Bears.

Thank you DEN, Lance and Polar Bears International. This was amazing!

DEN Summer Institute 2010

Filed Under (DENSI2010, Mash-up) by Patti Harju on 26-07-2010

I attended my first DEN Summer Institute last week at Bentley University in MA. Met many amazing educators (DEN Stars!) and learned a great deal.  Lodge McCammon‘s all day workshop taught me many new (and simple) ways to use video (Flip cameras) with my students. Can’t wait to have them create their first Paper Slide video or act out a math concept. I am working on finding lower elementary songs to use in concept music videos Lodge Style. Had a great time making the video on Plant Cells with the whole group.

Matt Monjan did a great job showing us all the new features of the Discovery Education website, especially the Builder Tools. I look forward to using the Assignment Builder, Quiz Builder, and Writing Prompt Builder with my class this year. I had fun showing these features to some teachers this morning and it was fun to watch their amazement and excitement at using these tools. One of the teachers kept texting another teacher while we were talking to share the site with her.

I enjoyed meeting Peter Reynolds and visiting his Fablevision studio. The Fablevision website has many wonderful resources for educators. There are Flash versions of some stories as well as a free download of Benjamin’s Bowtie in the Fable Library. He was nice enough to autograph a copy of So Few of Me for each of us. He also autographed my copy of The Dot that I brought along. His books are perfect springboards for lessons on creativity and caring and it will be fun to plan lessons around them.

Hall Davidson joined us later in the week and shared Web 2.0 tools and great tips for making movies with Green Screen and DE Streaming. His presentations are always filled with many great tips/ideas/websites.  I enjoyed talking to him about the ways I have used Green Screen with my 2nd graders.

We used Edmodo as a backchannel during the Institute and it was a great way to learn how to use this tool. We had fun putting up polls, questions, links and images. It still is being used by the DEN Summer Institute attendees to share our trips home, reflections, ideas, links.

Loved all the free stuff – Discovery Blanket, Book signed by Peter Reynolds, DE T-shirt and Glogster T-shirt, great note cards from Florida (Thanks Francie), Hyperstudio, etc.

I enjoyed this first DEN Summer Institute and hope to attend again in the future. I know many people put in a great deal of time to make it happen and I am very thankful. I met Lance Rougeux and many of the DEN leaders for the first time and am impressed by their hard work and leadership. Lance and the  DEN crew were there to make sure we had a wonderful and educational experience. They were amazing!

This blog entry is cross posted on