Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Google Homepage: Your Desktop Anywhere

All students should have the following applications on their personalized Google Homepage: Google Reader (for blog subscriptions), Google Docs and Spreadsheets (for dictation, autobiographical and other written assignments), wikipedia (for encyclopedic knowledge), MapMyWord Dictionary (for linguistics and definitions), Google Maps (for geographic and cartographic studies) and at least one news feed.

Google Calendar appears by default on your Google Homepage. You do not need to add it. Remember, all students are required to enter all school assignments in Google Calendar. Please share your calendar with your parents or guardians.

Remember, The Blog Watch Show (episode # 2) is due on Friday, February 2, 2007. For episode #2 you must review the blogs of three different students this time and once again, review Wesley Fryer's blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

I expect all students to get more in depth with their blog reviews this time around. Please, no shallow, superficial reports. "Her blog looks nice" is not acceptable. Instead, I want you to tell me how well did your classmate write his/her report? Do you agree/disagree with his/her position on the subject? Was the writer wordy? Was the writer thorough or did the writer leave you wanting more information ?

Talk to your subjects and use direct quotes in your interviews. You are also encouraged to invite students to be in studio guests. In other words, two, three or four of you may record episode #2 together.
Keep in mind, we will keep up with this activity, changing subjects as we go, for the remainder of the school year.

See me if you have questions.

H. Songhai

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tag Wall Exam #1

Today, you were asked to create a 10 question test in Survey Monkey.
Your test questions must come from the many Tag Wall Topics we discuss
each day in class. Your test must include ten questions that span ten different topics.

Your test must consist of five multiple choice questions
and five open ended essay questions. Some of the topics we discussed
include: Mr. Obama, This Day In The NFL, Poem For Black Hearts,
School Daze, State of The Union, Khadijah, Google and Stepping With The Greeks - School Daze.

In addition to creating an original exam in Survey Monkey, please create
an answer key (with all of the correct answers) in Google Docs.

Please email me your exam and your answer key no later than 1 o'clock 1/26/07.

Thank you,

H. Songhai

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Google It

If it seems as if Google is popping up everywhere, you're not imagining things.
Don't get paranoid. You're not being followed - yet, altogether.

But if you need to print out driving directions to IUP from Philly, then you should click on Google Maps. If you want to fly - virtually, over the Atlantic Ocean to Zimbabwe use Google Earth. If you need to find Sonny Clark's discography, Hampton Hawes' place of birth, or The Mighty Sparrow's birth name, then Google it.

The computer world in 2007, with the help of some bright and creative thinkers has moved from a disc and install frontier to a web based frontier. I'd just as soon sign up (usually with an e-mail address) for a free world map program than pay seventy dollars for a disc version of pretty much the same thing.

Google is doing for your desktop life what the iPhone promises to do for your mobile life - allow you to do practically anything from anywhere - virtually.

By now, all students should have a Google Personal Homepage. Your Homepage should include Google Reader (for subscribing to blogs), Gmail, wikipedia, and at least one news feed.
Yesterday we looked at two more free and powerful desktop tools from Google - Google Calendar and Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Starting this week, all freshmen must use Google Calendar to enter your daily school assignments. Enter your assignments in Google Calendar for math class, science class, Spanish class, P.E. class and of course, for my class. Highly organized students are encouraged to create several calendars for each of your classes.
Be sure that you share your calendar with your parents so that they always know what you're facing at school. Use the calendar to post school announcements, test dates, holidays, sports and more.

Google Calendar is an incredibly smart and handy calendar and planner application. You will find it invaluable. Start using it tonight!

We also looked at Google Docs and Spreadsheets. If you're comfortable using Microsoft Word, Notepad, Excel or Word Perfect, you'll feel right at home with Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets allows you to create and publish professional looking documents and save them online. That means you can access any document you create and save from any computer in the world!

Starting this week, all freshmen must post responses to the daily tag wall topic on Google Docs.
Please e-mail me today's topic - James Brown In His Own Words" and yesterday's topic, This Day in The NFL.
(Continue to copy/paste your tag wall topics on your wiki.)

H. Songhai

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Blog Watch Show

Time flies when you're having fun.

It flies even faster when you're working hard.

So before time slips too far away, here's a reminder of what's up next for 9th grade students at New Media.

The Blog Watch Show, episode #1 is due tomorrow - Friday 1/19/07. Your first show is a review of three of your classmates' blogs as well as a review of Wesley Fryer's blog

Your Blog Watch Show script for episode #1 must be posted on your blog by 3 PM Friday the 19th. All 9th grade students should have added Google Reader to your personalized Google Homepage and subscribed to three of your classmates' blogs.

Remember, episode #1 is a review of 3 NMTCS blogs and a review of Wesley Fryer's blog.

Mr. Songhai

Friday, January 12, 2007

Perspectives In Blogging

Special thanks to Wesley Fryer, producer of Moving at the Speed of Creativity for featuring Songhai Concepts as a part of his keynote presentation at the MacWorld Conference held this week in San Francisco. Two weeks ago, Wesley Fryer posted an invitation on his blog for teachers who use blogs in their classrooms, to share their reflections on this relatively new and powerful form of writing everybody is buzzing about - blogging.

I've been using a blog in my classroom for close to two years now. My blog is like a digital chalk board. All of my assignments are posted on my blog, Songhai Concepts. In return, my students publish their homework and assignments on their blogs. Recently my students have been posting lists, facts and other useful data on their wikis. I check their blogs and their wikis and leave comments. That's how I mark papers/pages - through a digital conversation. Papers are practically non-existent in my classroom. Ninety-nine percent of the students at NMTCS have a blog.

So when Wesley Fryer posted an invite for teachers to talk about blogging, I figured I was qualified to write a few lines about why blogging is so historically important in the 21st century classroom.

I e-mailed my written comments and a voice recording to Fryer and he did the rest. The result is a sparkling short video of three classrooms from three very different places, but with at least one thing in common - blogging.

Click to watch Perspectives in Blogging

You will need QuickTime to view this video.

H. Songhai

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This morning's tag wall topic was Macworld 2007. How many of you predicted that Apple's Steve Jobs would unveil the iPhone and introduce Apple TV at today's Macworld Conference in San Francisco? "The phone is like having your life in your pocket. It's the ultimate digital device," Jobs said today in California. Do you agree with Jobs? What do you think he means when he says it's like having your life in your pocket? How might this phone change the way you communicate in the future?

Mr. Songhai

Monday, January 08, 2007


Using the movie "James Brown, American Master" as your guide, design a ten question test with Survey Monkey. Your test must include at least five open ended essay type questions and five multiple choice questions. Base your test questions on the information you gathered from the movie, and from the vocabulary list and questions I dictated to you this morning. All tests must include at least one question that deals with James Brown's relationship with Rev. Al Sharpton.


Mr. Songhai

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