The Fall 2006 Classroom Grant judging is completed! Congratulations to ten lucky winners.

Below are the grant applications of our five runner-up winners. Each runner-up will receive Tool Factory Software and a Digital Camera Guide for Educators.

Click here to see the applications from the grand prize winners!

Score: 4.38 out of 5.00

Dionne Phillips, Walter M. Schirra

14 Carmel Court, Old Bridge, NJ 08857, 732-234-3682

LESSON TITLE: Digital Trilogy
Phase I (3rd Grade)
We begin the basic concepts for digital picture-prompted writing in the third grade with our preliminary discussion of the writing process and an introduction of brainstorming seed ideas to jump start our writing. Using the TOOL FACTORY DATABASE, students will be asked to come up with and record some writing-sentence starters, using descriptive words, quotes and questions such as “The first time I…,” “We all make mistakes….” and “What if animals could talk?”

Next, using the YOUNG WRITER’S WORKSHOP software, the third graders will begin the writing process by learning to plan, write, revise, edit, proofread and publish different forms of poetry such as diamante, haiku and free verse. After having some fun with the poetry, we move forward with prose by exploring ways to develop more personal, narrative essays. We’ll publish and save these writings, as well as more creative forms such as plays and travelogues, using the TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR.

Now, it’s time to introduce the cameras to our young writers! Initially, we’ll dedicate two weeks for the third graders to handle and use the digital cameras, with a decrease of adult assistance, as appropriate for each individual student, along the way. Their first photo assignment to “capture life” begins with a journey in and around the school, taking photos of people and things we deal with everyday. Then, they will log their pictures into TOOL FACTORY DATABASE, with which they will now be familiar from their early writing exercises, to be organized and sorted into categories. Summary of Art Gallery Categories: alphabet, animals, education, community, celebrations, geography, health, house and home, nature, numerical, panoramic views, professional, recreation, science & technology, sports, shapes, travel, personalized photographers and videos. In the days that follow, I will select the student pictures randomly and either hand out individual copies or use large screen projection to prompt various writing formats.

Phase II (4th grade)
As fourth graders, the process begins to take on a broader focus as students are asked to take the digital cameras outside of the school building to take pictures and videos of their friends, family and within their neighborhoods. We will take a small group field trip to the local park, supermarket and another school to take pictures of life around them (both living and nonliving) paying close attention to details that are normal and abnormal. They will then return to school and review their pictures, creating new files within the TOOL FACTORY DATABASE. Each student will also be asked to log in a short summary of their work, using the TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR.

At this point, the fourth graders will be begin to synergize their writing and photographic efforts by creating a photo journal. Using a large three-ring binder as their notebook, students will begin to select and post some of the digital photos in their database. Then, they will begin to express the initial emotions they evoke by choosing a poetry or prose format they have practiced to relate each of the pictures to themselves and/or the world around them.

We will also create high order thinking comprehension questions for picture prompt writing. Students will also be given the opportunity to be involved in the creation of their own rubrics to share with the whole school. The pictures, questions and rubrics will be printed out and placed in the photo journal in plastic sheet protectors with tagged numbers to be used as a reference within the school library for all students and teachers.

The TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET will also be used by the fourth graders to create descriptive information notes, audio and word bank collections for all the pictures and videos they have taken. Students will also be expected to use the spreadsheet as a resource for keeping track of the input and output of the images they’ve taken and used.

As the fourth graders become more comfortable using the SPREADSHEET, DATA BASE AND WORD PROCESSOR to turn their photos and writings into book-based projects, they will be introduced to the MULTIMEDIA V. Here, students will work in teams to animate a picture to provide the viewers with more color and textural details than the photo journals provided. This is an ideal launch pad for team work and practicing descriptive writing. For example, groups will be asked to create a folktale or historical fiction short-story where details require clear, concise writing as well as brilliant pictures to come alive. For our audience in the lower grades (K-3), we’ll use PAINTER to enhance the details and characteristics of a picture, thus using a cartoon/animated approach to picture-prompted writing. The FRESCO program will lead the way for our visual learners who will be prompted by multi-dimensional real-life views of pictures.

At the end of the school year, with their photography and technology skills now well honed with practice, the fourth graders will create a digital art exhibit using TOOL FACTORY PAINTER, FRESCO and the MULTIMEDIA V SOFTWARE with their digital cameras. The assignment: connect photos (new as well as those already stored in the database) to a story or poem created on TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR to be displayed in the all-purpose room, at a special showing for parents and auctioned off as part of the school’s fundraising program.

Phase III (5th Grade)
As Fifth graders, now having already gained confidence as writers, photographers, photojournalists and artists, students will develop their technological skills even further by using the TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE templates to build an all-school access website. Here they will incorporate clip art, animation and drop down that both students and teachers can use as picture prompts to launch an assortment of writing projects. Those truly interested or so inspired can also use TOOL FACTORY SOFTWARE to create multicultural and diverse compositions of music to add on to photography and text.

This is designed as a looping three-year project in cycles with the same students. Each year it will begin again with a new third grade, as the tasks for fourth and fifth graders become increasingly complex.

The number of students in my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes each year ranges from six (6) to ten (10) in each class, for a total of eighteen to thirty students each year. Since this is a progressive project, the total number of students involved each year will increase as I continue to introduce the project to each new third grade while still working with 4th and 5th graders. After the first year, the total number of students in the cycle will range from twenty-four (24) and forty (40).


Grade Three: Meeting three times a week for forty-five minutes October-June

• Month 1 (October) Model demonstrations and guide the use of the digital cameras’ basic functions.
• Months 2 -3 (November-December) Guide collaborative and independent pictures taken in and around the school setting- “daily life” related in guided reading and writing lessons.
• Months 3-6 (December-March) Connect pictures to writing mini-lessons taught in small group setting using their writing journals and YOUNG WRITER’S WORKSHOP software. Third grade students get started working through the writing process and learning to plan, write, revise, edit, proofread and publish different forms of poetry such as diamante, haiku ,etc. Then they will develop their writing for personal, expository, report, persuasive, descriptive and narrative essays and publish these writings and more creative forms of writing such as plays, informational, cartoons, anecdotes, parodies, travelogues, etc. and save them in TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR.
• Months 7-9 (April-June) Students will create a database using TOOL FACTORY DATABASE to place their digital pictures in subcategories.

Grade Four: Meeting four days a week for forty-five minutes October-June

• Month 1 (October) Review functions and basic capabilities of our OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAS.
• Months 2-3 (November-December) Guide collaborative and independent pictures taken in and around the school setting to an extension within our community to include family and friends. We will participate in small group interactive community field trips to the local park, supermarket and another school to take pictures of living and nonliving images, paying close attention to details that are normal and abnormal. They will then return to school and begin to sort through and decipher their pictures to add to their previous year’s files within the TOOL FACTORY DATABASE.
• Months 3-6 (December-March) Each student will log in a short summary within TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR and receive a notebook as their digital photo journal, to record their initial emotions, relating the picture to text, to self and/or to the world (picture to text/picture to self/picture to world connection). Teacher will also create high order thinking comprehension questions for picture prompt writing. Students will be involved in the creation of comprehension questioning and their own rubric using the TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET. Pictures, questions and rubrics will then be printed out and placed in the photo journal (large 3 hole binder) in plastic sheet protectors with tagged numbers to be used as a reference within the school library for all students and teachers within the school.
• Months 7-9 (April-June) The TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET will also be used to create descriptive information notes, audio and word bank collections for all the pictures and videos, and become a great resource to track the input and output of pictures taken and used. YOUNG WRITER’S WORKSHOP will be used with The MULTIMEDIA V to animate creative writing within the curriculum writing program. The paint programs will be used to enhances the details and characteristics of a picture for those who may use a cartoon/animated approach to picture prompted writing. The FRESCO program will be integrated for use by the visual learners, more easily prompted by multi-dimensional real life view of a picture.

Grade Five: Meeting four/five times a week for forty-five minutes October-June

• Month 1 (October) Review basic and advanced functions of the digital camera and the associated software.
• Months 2 -3 (November-December) Students will be introduced to the basics of setting up a website using the TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE software. They will learn how to set up their published work directly on the internet to be shared within the school and on the internet highway.
• Months 3-6 (December-March) Students will develop their technological skills and use the TOOL FACTORY HOMEPAGE to build a website for all school access, so students and teachers can use the TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE school templates for picture prompt writing. They will incorporate clip art, animation and drop down, and use tool factory software to create multicultural and diverse compositions of music to add on to photography and text
• Months 7-9 (April-June) Fourth and fifth graders will work collaboratively with me, the art teacher and librarian to create a digital art exhibit using TOOL FACTORY PAINTER, FRESCO and The MULTIMEDIA V SOFTWARE with their digital cameras to connect their photos to a story or poem using TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR and YOUNG WRITER’S WORKSHOP to create video shorts in English, French, German and Spanish. These will be displayed in the all-purpose room and auctioned off for school fundraising.

The students will begin the three-year cycle with me as the Basic Skills teacher and my paraprofessional as an assistant. During their second and third years with the project (as fourth and fifth graders), we will have the assistance of: the classroom teachers to correlate my language arts mini-lesson to their whole group classroom instruction; the librarian to help us research and access of the computer lab; the art teacher to dramatize our artistic views; and the PTA to plan the components of our art auction school fundraiser.


Language Arts

A. Concepts About Print
B. Phonological Awareness (includes phonemic awareness)
C. Decoding and Word Recognition
D. Fluency
E. Reading Strategies (before, during, and after reading)
F. Vocabulary and Concept Development
G. Comprehension Skills and Response to Text
A. Writing as a Process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, post writing)
B. Writing as a Product (resulting in a formal product or publication)
C. Mechanics, Spelling, and Handwriting
D. Writing Forms, Audiences, and Purposes (exploring a variety of forms)
A. Discussion
B. Questioning (Inquiry) and Contributing
C. Word Choice
D. Oral Presentation
View and Media Literacy
A. Constructing Meaning from Media
B. Visual and Verbal Messages
C. Living with Media

Technology Strands

Computer and Information literacy
A. Basic Computer Skills and Tools
Word processing
Internet usage
Database concepts and usage
Publications and presentations
B. Application of Productivity Tools
Social Aspects
Information Access and Research
Problem Solving
Technology Education
A. Nature and Impact of Technology
B. Design Process and Impact Assessment
C. Systems in the Designed World

Social Studies Strands
A. Critical Thinking
B. Self-Management
C. Interpersonal Communication
D. Character Development and Ethics
A. Civic Life, Politics, and Government
B. American Values and Principles
C. The Constitution and American Democracy
D. Citizenship
E. International Education: Global Challenges, Cultures, and Connection

World Languages Strands
A. Interpretive Mode (understanding and interpretation of spoken or written communication)
B. Interpersonal Mode (direct spoken and written communication)
C. Presentational Mode (spoken and written communication for an audience)

Mathematics Strands
Mathematical Processes
A. Problem Solving
B. Communication
C. Connections
D. Reasoning
E. Representations
F. Technology


• 1 Young Writer’s Workshop Software ($69.95 each) $69.95
Use for third-fifth graders working with the writing process to
develop fictional and non-fiction pieces of literature.
• 3 512MBxD memory card ($89.95 each) $269.85
Use with all three grades at one time without worrying about
photo memory capabilities.
• 3 Soft Leather Carry Cases ($19.95 each) $59.85
Protective cases to safely carry and store digital cameras
• Funding towards a Basic Skills Class computer $100.35

Total $500.00

Judges' Comments:

"Nice integration of technology "throughout" the school year."

Score: 4.30 out of 5.00

Jane Carr, Broughal Middle School

125 West Packer St., Bethlehem, PA 18015, 610-866-5041

LESSON TITLE: A Computer, A Camera, and Me
Each year I teach multimedia to approximately 450 students in grades 6 through 8. Students explore aeronautics and the weather in grade 6, learn about mitosis and geographical online interface systems in grade 7, and discover the impact of technology as it relates to music, cell phones, video games, or automobiles in grade 8. In each of these classes students creatively design graphics or use photos that enhance slideshows related to their project that they ultimately present in class.

In grade 6 students created paper rockets and flew them in class. Students would use the cameras in the following ways: to build an image database of completed rockets that would be accessible to all sixth grade students: to take pictures as they built their rockets which would be used to explain the steps they followed to construct their rockets; to photograph the sky as they learn about cloud cover, temperature, and other weather-related phenomena.

Students will use the Tool Factory Workshop to chart and graph the flight of their paper rockets. Students will also use Multimedia Lab V to create a photomontage of their weather images. Students will enhance their projects as they design a cover page for their presentation using Whole Class Fresco.

Students would use Tool Factory Home Page to showcase their projects on a rotational basis on my website. Parents would be able to view student work online.

In grade 7 students would have access to an image database containing photographs of various buildings and significant locations in Bethlehem.
They would use Tool Factory Workshop to create an interactive map that shows the Bethlehem Area. Students would first use Google Earth to capture an image of the Bethlehem Area. They would next bring that image into the Tool Factory Workshop where they would also include images of various buildings in Bethlehem. When a button is pressed the map would zoom to the building where a brief description would also be provided

Students in grade 7 would also use Whole Class Fresco to customize images used in their animation of mitosis. The animation of mitosis would be done using the Tool Factory Workshop. Since the mitosis unit also involves creating web pages the Tool Factory Home Page would be used to help students increase their basic understanding of the development of web pages.

In grade 8 students explore technology and its impact on video games, the automobile, cell phones, or music. Students use the Internet to collect pictures and acquire knowledge that is used on their web pages, slideshow, and movies. Students would use the camera to photograph objects that they would import into their projects. Students would also use the Tool factory Workshop to animate a timeline on important dates related to their topic.
The Whole Class Fresco would be used to create artistic designs used in presentations.

Students in all three grades would greatly benefit from the hands-on learning. Students would learn about photography and how to take a
quality picture. They would learn how to operate a camera and take advantage of the panoramic and superscript features. The Whole Class Fresco software would improve student understanding of graphic art and design concepts, and improve the overall presentation of the projects. The Tool Factory Workshop would be used to animate the flight of a paper rocket, illustrate the phases of mitosis, build an interactive map of Bethlehem, and animate a timeline related to important technological dates.
By using the Tool Factory Home Page students will upload projects to my website which can be viewed by parents and friends.


3 Olympus AA battery chargers $125.00
3 512 MB xD cards $275.00
Camera Cases 3 $15.00 $45.00
DVDs - $55.00

Total - $500.00

Score: 4.28 out of 5.00

Tanya Bunch, Carter High School

210 N. Carter School Road, Strawberry Plains, TN 37971, 865-933-3434

LESSON TITLE: It's Not Easy Being Green (or Doing Chemistry)
I work in a rural high school, which also pulls from a small inner-city section. Our school has a large problem with attendance, as well as graduation rates. One of the primary areas that kids seem to fall behind in are the sciences, as they are taught in a progressive manner. There is usually very little connection between subsequent courses that helps the student tie it all together with previous learning.

This grant proposal will be written in 2 sections, the first centered around “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” and how the grant will be used for that goal. The second part will focus on “It’s Not Easy . . .Doing Chemistry,” and how the grant will help with that aspect.

It’s Not Easy Being Green
I have been privileged to teach a variety of science courses at the school, with an even larger variety of students and ability levels. In the last year, I have experimented with an environmental theme to all of the courses I have taught, from physical science, to chemistry, to life science. Each scientific discipline can be applied to the world around us, which has given me a common thread to the courses I have taught, something for the students to use to tie things together.

I taught 4 Freshman Physical Science classes last year, and brought in many environmental applications. What I found as I tried to do this is that I had to create a lot of my own labs and activities that would bring in the physical science concepts from the required curriculum, as well as meet the vast variety of learning levels and capabilities I had with students. There was very little out there to draw from, without having to make a lot of modifications. Even then, my modifications weren’t perfect, and have been changed many times as we have repeated things. But the most important thing I found out was that MY KIDS LOVED IT!!!

We are fortunate to have a stream adjacent to the school, which became our outdoor classroom. We used it to study the speed of a rubber duck, the flow rate of water, the properties of water at different temperatures and depths, the chemical properties of a stream, and much, much, more. Gone was that dreaded question “How am I ever going to use this in the real world?” And this class has a state final, one which all but 2 of my students passed, and I am convinced the applications of their knowledge had much to do with this pass rate.

I had many of these students back this year, this time for Life Science. The first question I was asked by these returning students was “when are we going back to the stream?” It had made an impression on many of them, and was something I could build new material on this year. Many of the students taking life science are lower level learners, have discipline or attendance problems, or have not been able to apply themselves enough to move beyond this course. I can’t say that I succeeded in every student passing the course, but what I did do was increase their interest and some motivation. I had 3 students who told me on day one they weren’t doing any work and were told by probation officers they could just sit there. And they didn’t do anything, except on the days when we were doing our environmental work. They were some of the most excited and hard-working students on those days. They were even among the first to have in their permission slips to do the stream work, and would ask when we were going to do that again.

What does this have to do with digital photography and this grant? EVERYTHING! Like I said, I found myself very much alone in adapting applicable environmental activities to the types of students and curriculum I had to teach. I also found other teachers who were also interested in trying to do the same types of things, who I would share my work with. I am very fortunate in that I have been a real-world chemist, and have experience creating lab procedures, as well as having an environmental background and passion. I also have a very supportive administrator, who has given me time and resources to develop what I have so far. But it still has a long way to go.

#1 – The Cameras
As the project title says, it’s not easy being green. Green is a word used to associate things with the environment, something I am trying to do. The students will be given the procedures that have been modified to this point. They will break up into groups, with each group receiving a camera. They will take pictures of every step they perform of the procedures. They will also make notes on what they did that may have more “student-friendly” wording than I had. One group will use the video function on the camera to video tape the entire lab. This will be done for each different course I teach, as each one has different activities they will do that reflect that course’s curriculum. During all of these activities, the teacher will also take pictures of the students performing these activities. Then we will go to step #2 below.

#2 – Tool Factory:
All pictures and video will be imported into Tool Factory. From there we will do the following things for the environmental labs:
1. Using Tool Factory Word Processor, pictures of each lab step will be edited to make sure they show what is needed for that particular lab. All pictures will be added to Tool Factory Database. This will allow the work to be used by anyone else if something goes wrong with their own work, as well as to give teacher access to things for creating lab related exams.

2. Again using Tool Factory Word Processor, text will be added to go with the picture explaining what is to be done, including any changes the students feel needs to be made to make it easier for other students to understand.

3. Tool Factory Painter will be used with Tool Factory Word Processor to add any other elements needed for writing up the new lab procedures.

4. Tool Factory Database will be used to handle any data they collect in these labs, and to graph that information. Then Tool Factory Word Processor will be used to write up a formal lab report.

5. Using a combination of Tool Factory Database and Tool Factory Word Processor, the video will be edited, and a script of what’s going on will be created, to be used by students who may have missed the lab.

6. For all of the pictures taken by the teacher, they will be put into Tool Factory Database. Then a combination of Tool Factory Word Processor / Painter / Bank Manager will be used to create a multimedia presentation showcasing what the students have done. This presentation will be shown to parents on parent night, and can also be emailed home to interested parents using Tool Factory Emailer.

7. Tool Factory Database will create the final, printable version of the environmental lab manual.

8. Tool Factory Emailer will be used to send copies of the labs to other interested teachers when sending a hard copy may not be sufficient or adequate.

9. All of the Tool Factory software will be used to enhance the teacher’s web page to be able to showcase what is being done, and to increase interest and awareness of what is going on.

#3 – The Result:
First and foremost, I want the kids to have fun doing what they’re doing, and be able to progress in their science understanding. Adding in taking pictures to what has already been a good thing, will only make it better.

Second, I want to help students in their success in science. Oftentimes, it is the lab and activities we do that help solidify their understanding of concepts, as well as motivate them to participate. But because of our high absentee rate, there are always students who miss the lab. Many of these labs are too hard to re-create at a later date for just a student or 2. This is where the scripted videos come in. They would be able to watch the videos at a later time, and virtually participate. This way they don’t completely miss out on the experience, and hopefully can solidify their understanding.

The long-lasting result will be the environmental lab book that will be created. It will be compiled from all of the work the students have done. It will be organized by the different courses, with a clear description of how each lab ties into the course curricula. The lab manual will be constructed so that it can be added to as time goes by. I want it to be the lab manual I was hoping was out there when I first started, but wasn’t. These manuals will then be used by future students, to better explain steps, as wells at to help those who have reading disabilities, which is a constant struggle in science courses. Once the lab manual is completed, these will be shared with other interested teachers within my department, the district, as well as available on my teacher website. I already have a couple teachers in other states interested in this when I get it done.

It’s Not Easy . . . Doing Chemistry
As for the chemistry side, our school will be piloting a new chemistry course that has an environmental / real-world focus. Many of our students who take chemistry are not going on to college to be science majors, so do not need some of the theory taught by our standard chemistry course. They also have a preconceived idea that chemistry is very hard and they might not make it through. This course I will be teaching has a real-world component that will give them the skills that a college wants by having them take the course, while hopefully promoting that chemistry can be fun and applicable to the real world. Enter the grant.

#1 – The Digital Cameras:
For chemistry, one group will be given a camera to video the entire lab. The other cameras will be available for the other groups to take pictures of what they start and end with, and if there are any other steps in which they need to document a result. Each group will be required to submit a lab report, in which they must include the pictures they took, data, and graphs if applicable. The teacher will also take pictures of the students performing their labs. This takes us to #2.

#2 – Tool Factory:
For the chemistry labs, we will do the following:
1. All pictures will be added to Tool Factory Database. This will allow the work to be used by anyone else if something goes wrong with their own work, as well as to give teacher access to things for creating lab related exams.

2. Tool Factory Database will be used to handle any data they collect in these labs, and to graph that information.

3. Tool Factory Word Processor will be used to write up a formal lab report, including the pictures, data and graphs.

4. Tool Factory Painter will be used with Tool Factory Word Processor to add any other elements needed for completingtheir lab reports.

5. Using a combination of Tool Factory Database and Tool Factory Word Processor, the video will be edited, and a script of what’s going on will be created, to be used by students who may have missed the lab. This can also be used in subsequent years as a preliminary to students doing the labs, to allow them to see what they will be doing.

6. For all of the pictures taken by the teacher, they will be put into Tool Factory Database. Then a combination of Tool Factory Word Processor / Painter / Bank Manager will be used to create a multimedia presentation showcasing what the students have done. This presentation will be shown to parents on parent night, as well as to those who are monitoring how this pilot course is progressing. This will also be made available on the teacher’s webpage, using the Tool Factory software.

#3 – The Result:
My main goal in teaching any chemistry class is to get the kids having so much fun, and seeing how much chemistry plays a role in their life, that they forget that they thought it was hard and at least leave the class with a different perspective. I don’t expect them to love it, but to at least have a more open mind when they leave than when they started. By taking pictures of what they do, and then later using those pictures for lab exams and future presentations, it gives them ownership in their own education.

Second, I hope to help the absentee problem I have on lab days. We only have one chemistry lab in our school, so keeping a lab set-up until all absentees can make it up is sometimes impossible. This will allow the students to “virtually” participate if they miss a lab.

As this is a pilot course, documentation of all that we do will be critical. That is why the teacher will be creating a presentation showcasing the work the students do. This presentation can then be shared with other classes, to increase awareness of the course. It will also be shown to parents parents, administration, and others who wish to see how this course is progressing.

By bringing digital photography into the chemistry lab, I also hope to get them to learn more about how important their observations and data are. It’s not just enough to do it, they must also be able to explain it. The pictures you can take of reactions are absolutely amazing, and this can hopefully help the students in their understanding. And the Tool Factory software sounds amazing, and could be of great benefit to their whole lab experience.


1. memory cards for cameras $75
2. rechargeable batteries $40
3. camera cases $45
4. paper for lab manuals $60
5. ink cartridges (extra) $100
6. photo/document printer $180

Score: 4.16 out of 5.00

Mary Ann Hogan, Floral Street School

57 Floral Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545, 1-508-841-8720

LESSON TITLE: Give a H.O.O.T. (Hands On Outdoor Technology)

Over the past several years, our school community, made up of approximately 750 students and more than 40 teachers and administrators, has developed a nature trail designed as a resource for all students in grades one to four. Our school developed a relationship with the Broad Meadow Brook Audubon Sanctuary through a partnership with its educational leader. This project proposal, “Give A H.O.O.T.”, is intended to expand usage of the nature trail by all of our schools’ classes. The goal of the project is to involve students in learning about and caring for the world around them and to build student technological competency through the use of computers, cameras, and TOOL FACTORY software. Throughout this project, students will use technology to promote their understanding of the importance of environmental awareness. Our ultimate goal is to give all our students the gift of environmental and technology information literacy by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed in the world today.

Basing our studies on existing curriculum and state learning standards, students in grade one will focus on Sand, Silt and Pebbles while students in grade four will parallel and deepen the focus as they study Rocks and Minerals. Students in grade two will focus on Changes in the Weather over Time while students in grade three extend their knowledge of local Trees and the changes they endure as the seasons come and go. Students from the paired grade levels (one/four and two/three) will work together to carry out the various tasks for information gathering and recording. In this way, a blending of student abilities will enrich each student’s learning experience.

Documenting research with photos using DIGITAL CAMERAS: Student partners will photograph specified plants, animals and minerals along the nature trail.
Students will be visiting the nature trail to document the changes that occur throughout the four seasons in New England. Each grade level will focus on an area that is represented in their curriculum. Observations and recordings using the digital cameras will be brought from the nature trail into the classroom to discuss the findings and incorporate them into curricular studies. For example the second grade will study the changes in weather over time documenting findings through pictures of a particular area on the nature trail such as the stream area identifying the effects weather has on that area. Through the use of pictures and recording sheets children will include documentation of the season and number of daylight hours along with the weather and temperature of the day. By keeping a journal of their observations, the children will then begin to see the natural progression of the seasonal changes. The planned hands on activities allow the students to be responsible for their own learning. Using an inquiry based learning approach, promotes discovery and builds multiple connections to other areas of the curriculum. Setting expectations for a high level of student involvement motivates their natural curiosity to ask questions, make predictions, and seek answers.

The teachers will also document events as students work through the various phases of the grant implementation process. The teacher created photo series will be used as a professional development opportunity offered through a workshop in the spring of the following year. The workshop will include a presentation on how to use Olympus Digital Cameras, how to teach students to use and care for Olympus Digital Cameras using “Digital Camera Basics” workbooks, and how to incorporate digital cameras transparently into all areas of the curriculum.

Note: Although each of the pieces of software is listed as separate entities, please be aware that multiple tools are frequently utilized simultaneously for optimal student learning.

Reporting results using TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSING: Students will write about their findings and reflect on the photos they take throughout the year. A field guide will be expanded to include digital photos and descriptions of points of interest along the trail as well as the naturally occurring changes in the weather.
Students will:
Follow agreed-upon rules for class discussion
Recognize the features of a sentence and a paragraph
Give oral presentations about personal experiences using clear enunciation and adequate volume
Identify appropriate end marks (periods, question marks)
Identify correct capitalization for names, places, and dates
Distinguish cause from effect
Identify correct mechanics (punctuation, capitalization), usage, and sentence structure
Form questions about a text and locate facts that answer the reader’s questions
Give oral presentations about experiences or interests using proper eye contact, pace, volume, and clear pronunciation

Information gathering and organizing using the TOOL FACTORY DATABASE:
Students will enter collected information and photos into the database along with information researched on the Internet. A study over time reference guide will be started for students and teachers to reflect. One example would be the recordings on a specific tree and the annual growth that occurs horizontally and vertically. The weather for the year will also be documented and discussed as to its effect on the growth of the tree.
Students will understand:
How the properties of pebbles, sand and silt make them unique
That rocks and soil are found on the earth’s surface.
Understand the ways that we measure time (hours, days, weeks, months, seasons)
The weather changes from season to season
How the sun affects weather and life on earth
How air affects weather
Use mental math to add and subtract whole numbers to 20
Understand and use common fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4) as parts of wholes, parts of groups and numbers on a number line
Using a ruler, measure to the nearest half inch and centimeter
How the structure of a tree (a living thing) enables it to survive in its environment
That trees go through predictable life cycles
The properties of rocks and minerals
How rocks and minerals are formed
The needs of plants and animals for survival

Reflecting on and illustrating their observations using the TOOL FACTORY PAINTER: Students will illustrate their written observations of plants, animals, and minerals found along the nature trail. This will be used as an assessment tool to measure student understanding of the concepts studied. It will be also used as a culminating activity to create a collage of student work documenting the changes that occurred in each season in New England.

Recording temperature changes and precipitation amounts over time using the TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET: Students will record temperature changes and precipitation amounts and show the results with tables and graphs. Grade Three records this data as part of a daily activity incorporated in to the Math program. They will then display the graphs and tables in the classrooms and share them as part of their scientific findings.
Students will:
Use mental math to add and subtract whole numbers to 20
Compare length, weight, area, and volume of two or more objects by using direct comparison
Using a ruler, measure to the nearest half inch and centimeter
Identify time to the minute on analog and digital locks using a.m. and p.m. Compute elapsed time less than one hour using a clock and a calendar.
Construct draw conclusions, and make predictions from various representations of data sets, including tables, bar graphs, pictographs, line plots, and tallies.
Match representations of data (lists, graphs, tables) with the actual set of data.
Estimate and find area and perimeter.

Sharing their information with the community and the world using TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE. Working in groups or partners, students will create web pages to display their findings. They will share their information with the school community and the world by posting their pages on the school web site. Links will be created from the Floral Street Elementary School Nature Trail Map to student documentation of points of interest. The link will include a photo and description of the point of interest.

Extension, Follow up and Culminating activities:
1.) Present workshop to parents with assistance from local experts: Backyard landscaping using native species vs. invasive species
2.) Expand Nature Trail Tour Guide titled “Watchers Of The Woods” for community members.
3.) Participate in Biodiversity Days
4.) Enhance a wall of the school with four large Frescos or Collages. Using photos taken during their studies and illustrations from observations, each Fresco or Collage will illustrate one of the four seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. This will be a joint effort of the classes and the art teacher.
5.) Apply for certification from the National Wildlife Federation to recognize our schoolyard as a preserved habitat for native species.
6.) Extend the virtual tour of the nature trail with photos and collected data.
7.) Exchange information with nearby Audubon Sanctuary organizations.
8.) Hold fundraising event to allow for expansion of the nature trail and continuation of support for purchasing additional technology for expansion of the program. Olympus Digital Cameras will be used for a fundraiser to create and sell notecards featuring original student photography captured along the Nature Trail at Floral Street Elementary School.
9.) Use of email, iChat, and iSight to communicate with experts and other classrooms and schools in search of answers to their questions.
10.) Share their new knowledge and expertise with a “sister” school that has the potential to create a nature trail within the bounds of their schoolyard, including professional development for teachers utilizing TOOL FACTORY software and OLYMPUS digital cameras.
11.) Create Podcasts for the web pages to share information in auditory format.
12.) Develop a collection of leafs, plants, or soil samples to create a classroom museum.

Resource Links:
Floral Nature Trail --
Floral School Curriculum --
MA State Curriculum Frameworks --
Technology Standards --
National Technology Standards --
Biodiversity Day Website --
Animal games --
Animal songs --
Animal tracks --
Children’s songs --
Springtime song --
Birds fly --
The Plant Part Song --
Predator/Prey game --
Animal Games --
Wild Animal Games --
Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau Game --
Earth Day Games --
San Diego Zoo Games --
Ranger Rick from National WildLife Federation --
FirstGov for Kids --
Plants for kids --
Backyard Laboratory --

Note: Two additional Olympus Digital Cameras will be purchased through an existing school grant in order to carry out the planned outdoor photography activities. Five cameras will be needed to equip five groups of students while they observe, discover and capture moments in time on the nature trail.


Budget Total: $500
Neoprene Soft Case for Stylus and FE Series 5 @ $14.95 + shipping Total: $84.75
USBxD Olympus Picture Card Reader/Writer Micro Drive 2 @ $19.95 Total: $$39.90
256 Olympus MB XxD Card 5 @ 24.99 Total: $124.95
Audiovox 8 mile 2 Way Radio Twin Pack 3 @ $34.95 Total $104.85 (contact between the various groups in addition to adult supervision is important to ensure student safety on the trail as well as offer access to one another as they observe changes and carry out their assigned tasks.)
Materials for photograph note cards (fund raiser) Total: $145.55

Score: 3.95 out of 5.00

Wen Wang, Clear Creek High School

540 Mannington Ln., League City, TX 77573, 832-287-2988

LESSON TITLE: Learn Chinese and Discover China

I. Rationale of the project

I am a high school teacher of Chinese language and culture. The Chinese language and culture program in our school started about 8 years ago but it has never been a full time program. So far I have only 68 students enrolled in my four classes which include Chinese level I-IV and AP Chinese. ( But I am a full time certified teacher).Although the number of enrollment has been growing, (almost doubled since I took the position two years ago), I feel that the students, together with the whole community, hasn’t realized the potential benefits of mastering Chinese as a foreign language in the future .

As a matter of fact, Chinese-language programs are gaining popularity across the United States. With China quickly becoming a superpower, more and more schools are implementing programs to help students compete in a global world.
According to a Princeton University study, enrollment in Chinese classes at the K-12 level in the United States grew 65 percent, from 14,490 to 23,850, from 1997 to 2002.

President Bush is expected to announce a large increase in funding for the study of foreign languages considered critical to national security such as Arabic, Korean and Chinese. Chinese is one of the languages greatly needed to compete in this world-is-flat society.

However, at our campus Course Fair last year, a parent stated that she believed it would be funny and meaningless to have her child taking Chinese as a foreign language at high school because it’s hard and useless. What this parent doesn’t know is that Chinese is not an easy language to learn, but it is a language of the future in the states.

As articulated in Standards For Foreign Language Learning, five goal areas in learning a foreign language are Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons and Communities. Among these five C’s, communication is at the heart of second language learning. “Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom”. It is the ability to communicate in meaningful and appropriate ways with users of other languages that is the ultimate goal of today’s foreign language classroom.

To optimize the opportunity of my students to communicate effectively in a real-life setting, to gain the first hand knowledge of Chinese language and culture more meaningful than any conventional lessons in a school setting, I have decided to develop a Chinese language and cultural exploration project “Learn Chinese and Discover China” for my students. I also want to implement this project to motivate other students to choose Chinese as a foreign language and to enhance our community awareness of the significance of learning Chinese. We will present this informative documentary project to other students, educators, parents and our community, which include a multimedia presentation, a CD, a website and brochures for our counselors to pass out to intermediate schools.

This project meets the following standards of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Language Other Than English (TEKS for LOTE):

(1) Communication (A) (B) (C)

(2) Culture (A)(B)

(3) Connections(A) (B)

(4) Communities(A) (B)

II. Description of the project

Although only a group of students are going on the summer trip to China, this project will involve all the students in Chinese language and culture program and have significant impact on all the students in our school, all the parents and the whole community as well.

We are planning to visit Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an in China. We are going to see the Great Wall, Forbidden City in Beijing, Nan Pu Bridge and Oriental TV tower in Shanghai and the amazing Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an . In addition, we will also have the opportunity to visit three different types of schools in China: one public school and one private school in Beijing or Shanghai, and one school in a remote mountainous area near Xi’an. My students will use Chinese language to communicate with Chinese teachers and students! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAS will be used to take pictures and video clips when we travel in China. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAS will help record and keep lots of our unique memories! These photos and video clips will be fabulous core elements of our project.

Project Sequence:

Part I
Data Collection and Organization

Before we take the trip in early June, I will explain this language and culture exploration project to all my students. All the students will be provided with a packet of materials which include an overview of the project, objectives, step by step directions, worksheets, and evaluation rubrics. The orientation about TOOL FACTORY software will be given before the trip.

During the 9 day visit in China, students will use OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAS to record all the activities we have, including sightseeing, traveling and the interaction with the Chinese students and teachers.

When we came back, I will review the use of TOOL FACTORY software with all my students before we start the project.

First, the students will be divided into groups to use TOOL FACTORY DATABASE to organize and categorize all the photos taken in China. Each group should choose to work on a different theme. (i.e., “The Great Wall of China”, “The Modern City-Shanghai”, “Amazing Terra Cotta Warriors”, “A School in China”, and etc.). (I will ensure that each group has at least one member who has been on the trip to China.) TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET will be used to chart and document all the activities during the visit in China. TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET’s fantastic charting and graphing feature will create wonderful elements to the project and the complex 3D graphs with colorful backgrounds will highlight our exciting and memorable moments of the trip!

Next, TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR will serve as a perfect tool to create the text for the project. Students will also learn how to manipulate photos using WHOLE CLASS FRESCO to create special effects for some of the photos used for the presentation as well as for the website.

TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR and TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET will also be used to create brochures about Chinese language and culture. I will need these brochures for our annual campus Course Fair and for our counselors to pass out to the intermediate schools.

Part II
Multimedia Presentation

When all groups have completed their thematic projects, students will work together using MULTIMEDIA LAB V to combine them together into a well organized and structured multimedia presentation. The presentation will have five major parts : 1. Introduction of China Today 2. Overview of the summer trip 3. Exciting travel experiences 4. Enter into Chinese schools 5. We can speak Chinese! This presentation will be burned on CDs.
Each group will be responsible to orally present one part of the multimedia presentation and will take turns to present. After we successfully did the presentation in class, I will send invitation letters to all the parents to attend our multimedia presentation which is open to the whole school. The presentation will be recorded using OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA’S video clipping function. Pictures will be taken with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAS as well. When the presentation is over, each parent will be given a CD to keep.

I will also work with our district foreign language coordinator to seek the opportunity for our students to go to elementary and intermediate schools to do the presentation. That will be a very educational learning experience for our elementary and intermediate school students.

Meanwhile, students will use Olympus photo printer to produce some colorful photos to share with their families and friends. These photos will also be displayed at the presentations. We will even try to submit some of our photos to our local newspaper and select some masterpieces to enter a photo contest sponsored by National Geographic magazine!

Part III
Website “Learn Chinese and Discover China”

To have a long lasting educational impact and to make this project more accessible for students, parents and our community, we will create a website to promote our Chinese language and culture program.

Students will use TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE to design and create a very informative website. Our multimedia presentation will be integrated on the website. Additionally, the website will provide not only the travel information, such as the most interesting places to visit in China, but also the current education trend in china. The cultural exchange activities and the interaction between our students and the Chinese students will be presented. What’s more important, during our trip, we will establish a sister ship relation with one of the schools we visit. The related information will be provided on this website as well.

There is a wonderful online epal program which allows live communication between students all over the world. Their newly developed English and Chinese language portal will be a wonderful learning tool for my Chinese learning students since it allows interactive online English-Chinese or Chinese-English communication.( Detailed information at ) I will utilize this portal to help my students to communicate and practice using Chinese on a daily basis.
Using MULTIMEDIA LAB V will make it much easier to integrate this online epal program into our website. Students will also use THE INCREDIBLE EMAILER to send email messages to their epals in China.

To make this website more interesting and educational to all age groups, students will use TOOL FACTORY MULTIMEDIA LAB V to design some fun and educational games. The games will focus on promoting Chinese language and culture, Chinese history and current events as well. For instance, we can design some matching games on the facts about Chinese language, culture and history for lower level students. Some Jeopardy games for higher level students and adults. We will add in new games as time goes on.

We will maintain and update this website using MULTIMEDIA LAB V and TOOL FACTORY HOMEPAGE. So this is not just a one time fun project, it’s definitely going to be a long term education program to benefit all the people in our community.

This project promotes discovery learning and philosophy of learning a foreign language ( The five C’s of foreign language education). It challenges students in multidisciplinary areas on creative thinking, problem solving, organizational skills and teamwork. At the same time it will be a great opportunity to boost my students’ motivation to learn Chinese and have an incredible impact on our community.

III. Project Outcomes:

° Students will gain first hand knowledge about Chinese language and culture.
° Students will gain skills in reading, writing, and listening throughout the project.
° Students will learn how to use a digital camera.
° Students will learn how to create special effects for the photos.
° Students will gain experience using a variety of software programs which will enhance communication skills necessary for success in our technology driven world.
° Students will learn how to share information and showcase their work.
° Students will learn how to design and create a website.
° Students will learn how to be team players.
° Students will communicate using Chinese in real life and electronic world.


Memory cards $100
CDs $100
Paper and graphic paper $35
Ink Cartridges $110(2 color ink cartridges and 2 black ink cartridges)
Olympus P-11 Digital Photo Printer $150
Postage: $20
Total: $515

Read the applications of the 5 grand prize winners.

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