Current eForum: Stream Cleaner
Last Updated March 19, 2007
Why we ask for
Control Codes on forms
When the eForums conclude . . .
eForum Lesson Plan
(you can also reach lesson plans through
the Teacher's Room)
Teachers and schools
participating in SCE Forum 2007
Emails to teachers:
Cacapon Institute's challenge in conducting Environmental Forums and
other Potomac Highlands Watershed School activities is to provide a
setting where the content is highly relevant to the required curriculum,
where everything a teacher needs can be readily found, and where
everything works. Making everything work can be more difficult than it
appears, because every school system installs filters on their computer
networks to both prevent students from accessing inappropriate material,
and to prevent harm to their computer system from accidental downloading
of malicious software (viruses, spyware, malware, etc.). Because every
school system, possibly even every school, does this differently, it is
our challenge to develop content and processes that work everywhere.
For example, we do not have a "user name/password" system (the flash
activities have a "visitor's" bypass), we do not post streaming video (although we
would love to), and we take care that eForum activities do not "feel" like a
chat room to school filters that would then kick them off.
How subtle can
the problems be? Pretty subtle. For example, the original file
names for our Flash activities (like Stream Cleaner) included the
word "game." Some systems (one in a Missouri library, one in a WV
school system) had filters that automatically kicked a user who tried to
access these activities off the web because of the word "game." We
learned of the problem because people told us about it.
If you need
something that you can't find, or if something doesn't work for you, we
won't know unless you tell us. So, please, let us know – and we will do
everything in our power to fix it.
Why we ask for the
"Control Code" on forms? As noted in the
Feb 6 email below, we do
this to prevent mischief by students and by "unauthorized" users. The
potential for mischief is vast, and one of our jobs is to make sure that
none of it makes its way to your school computer screens. For example,
the control code should "help deter any temptation students might have
to toy with the survey (for example sign on as a different school and
answer all the questions “wrong”). " We also read every
submittal before manually posting it on the website. With more than 30
classes participating in the SCE Forum 2007, that will keep us plenty
busy during the Thoughtful Questions period.
When the eForums conclude,
we'll ask participating teachers to fill out a short survey to help us
know what went right, what could use improvement, and how the experience
impacted your view of the use of computers in the classroom. We'll also
schedule a time for a conference call where we can all just informally
talk about it. For example, a conference call following our 2006 Oh
Deer! eForum led to a number of significant changes to the time frame
and to the POV page format.
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Teachers and Schools participating
in the SCE Forum 2007
High School SMA
Center for the Arts and Technology
Samuel Banks High School
Hardy High School
Hampshire High School
Hempfield High School
Wood High School
Jefferson High School
Massanutten Regional Governor's School
Moorefield High School
Vista Governor's School
Newburyport High School
Harford High School
Northwood High School
Poolesville High School
Landon School for Boys
Wilson Senior High
Frank Rodgers sent
to teachers 3/19/07
Point of View statements have begun arriving
(27 so far)
and 268 students have taken the pre-survey to date. We anticipate
at least another 30 students will join the SCE Forum shortly.
Provided we don’t see any more snow or flooding we expect POVs to
arrive this week with revised POVs and TQs posting daily through
March 30th. (Let us know if that is too soon.)
Consensus Papers will follow after that
on your own schedule.
You, and your students, will notice the broad
range of academic skill and grade level exhibited
in the POVs.
One of our goals is to foster a community of learning so we are
encouraged by this wide reach of participants. They
range from 9th
graders to seniors and general science to advance pre-college
classes participating. Just like the real world, it takes all
kinds, experts and “blue collar”, to establish a working consensus.
We want to encourage younger students, or
those who find themselves struggling to keep up, to stick with it.
This is not a competition. Even
though students are working in stakeholder groups,
are all on the same “side”
in the sense that they are seeking the
solution that works for everybody. What can we all agree on to help
clean up our local streams
contributes to the greater Chesapeake Bay restoration effort?
Thoughtful Questions are an opportunity to
support likeminded stakeholders, reinforce one’s own position, and
ask sympathetic questions of groups that have positions that diverge
from one’s own. Of
course, it is also a time for peer review, be critical if necessary. It
is also a time students can ask their peers for help. Examples:
“We are developers too. We all want to keep our jobs and people
need places to live but don’t you think there are some best
management practices we could incorporate that would help the
environment and improve the quality of housing?”
“We government officials like the way you developers are
incorporating best management practices in your new subdivision but
we live in a town that is already built. Do you have any suggestion
for ways to introduce BMPs into existing developments?”
“We see your point about how damaging the watershed hurts the fish
and we see that it is a very emotional issue for you. We don’t mean
you any harm, but what can a farmer do?”
“As local government officials it is our job to deal with non-point
source pollution. You mention sewage treatment but that is a point
source problem. What can you do to help meet the Our Town’s
non-point source reduction requirements?”
“We are the government of Bay Town. We don’t see how you can reduce
your use of widgets by so much. Are you sure about that? Please
explain how that can be possible.”
TQs are an opportunity to develop a
groups, between groups outside
one’s own stakeholder group, not to mention between schools.
Students should strive toward the positive.
Speaking of positive, thanks again for
sticking with it through another bout
of weather. We have added
two new links
to the SCE Forum in the “Four stages of the SCE Forum” section you
For some tips on writing strong POVs, click
Some of which you may have already seen in the Teachers’ Room.
This is additional reading for the students who really want to
do well. The essentials of writing a POV are in the POV web
submission form itself. So, any student who follows the
guidelines within the POV web-link should have a satisfactory
Thinking about the Bay Cleanup: Framing Questions.
Cleaning up the Bay is quite a
offers six “framing questions”
- cornerstone questions to help you think through some key
issues, with links to the Bay Journal articles
P.S. Unique and entertaining stakeholder
group names are encouraged but no reference (however vague) will be
permitted regarding inappropriate behavior (i.e. violence, drugs,
sex, or dropping out).
To avoid problems,
encourage teachers to have groups declare their
prior to entering it in the computer.
Rodgers, sent to teachers March 7, 2007
Thank you for sticking with the SCE Forum through this troublesome
weather - many snow related closings again today.
Two new pieces of material are posted to the website:
1) Native Guide Sandy Burk, biologist and author, tells the success
story of students in Maryland, including Poolesville High School
students, in restoring American shad to the Potomac River. The
narrative, accompanied with photographs, describes the students’
leadership and follows three students from elementary into high
2) We’ve added a piece on urban/suburban issues and solutions which
includes forestry. The Chesapeake Bay Program is a national leader
in the emerging field of “urban forestry” conservation that expands
tree canopy and mitigates the negative impact of impervious
Point Of View statements have begun coming in. We will start
posting POVs Friday, March 9th and continue with postings
daily. Thoughtful Questions will be accepted beginning Monday,
March 12th and posted daily. The POV and TQ deadline is
Friday, March 30th. after which we will post final
consensus papers as they arrive. Classes may submit their consensus
papers beginning Monday, March 26th, but they will not be
posted till the 30th. We want to work with everyone to
achieve the maximum student involvement while still maintaining a
Does that give your class enough time?
Please have students do the survey first (see
the Feb 13
eForum Updates). To date we have received
233 surveys from 15 classes not counting James Wood where a firewall
prevented submission of the survey forms. We are making
arrangements for their continued participation. If your class has
submitted the survey you should have received the results from us
via email (from
firstname.lastname@example.org). If not,
please contact us immediately.
Should your class have trouble submitting the web forms the first
thing to do is find a way for students to save their submission
(survey, POV, or TQ) in some electronic format. Then call us, or
email, ASAP so we can arrange another method of communication.
P.S. “Dear Teacher” emails are posted at
eForum Updates. For information on
participating schools, a Google Earth “tour”, or the Survey answer
sheet please email us.
1. The Point Of View submission
period will still open on March 3rd but is extended to March 16th.
We will post the first batch of POVs Friday March 9th and POVs that
come in from the 12th to 16th (along with Thoughtful Questions) will
be posted daily.
2. Allowing a one week extension
will mean that some student POVs will be available on the site
before all stakeholder groups have submitted their POV. To foster
unique and individual POVs students should refrain from viewing
other stakeholder's work until they have submitted their own. The
A. Post your own POV.
B. Review others POV.
(Ongoing after March 9th)
C. Ask thoughtful questions
& respond to inquiries. (Ongoing March 9th - 30th)
3. Unique and expressive
stakeholder team names are strongly encouraged.
4. The SCE Forum achieves links
will be closed during the students' conversation period
to prevent any "piggy backing" on previous POV statement or
stakeholder group names. Teachers can contact us for an "off line"
link to those pages.
5. We encourage you to share the
survey results with your class. Please let the students see that we
are recording both the time information is submitted to us as well
as the computer ID of the sender. Perhaps the suggestion that we
can ID the student-author of any text will cut down on mischief.
Every eForum is an authentic and
unique experience. Students will shine, or not, on their own
efforts and the harshest judges they will face are their peers. It
is always education, enlightening, and quite a bit of fun.
Rodgers, sent to teachers on Feb 20, 2007
We appreciate that the recent weather has upset schedules. We are
open to the idea of extending the Thoughtful Questions period so
there will be adequate time for student dialogue. However, if you
can, please try to have your student stakeholder groups post their
Point Of View papers the week of March 5th - 9th
(let us know if that will not be possible).
Attached you’ll find the questions for the pre/post-survey with the
correct answers, where applicable
(if you did not get this file, send
Frank an email at
email@example.com and he will send it to you).
Some questions are about students’ attitudes so there is no “right”
answer. We do not expect students to know all, or even many, of the
answers but are surveying them so we can later judge how their
attitudes change and understanding improves. We are not recording
responses individually but as a class group and will let you know
how the students in your class poled and how students overall
poled. If you have multiple classes participating please be sure to
use a unique “teacher code” for each class. (see the last email in
the eForum Updates for more info)
P.S. Google Earth (www.googleearth.com) is a free program
that has aerial images from across the globe. Most of the schools
involved in the SCE Forum can be seen clearly. Should you already
use Google Earth in your classroom or be interested yourself in
seeing what the other schools look like, we invite you to take a
“tour”. It is striking how the urban/suburban schools (even
Newburyport High School, MA) look so much alike (large school bldg
and ball fields surrounded by identical street patterns and uniform
formations of houses) while the rural schools are very similar
(large expanses of forest and working fields). Perhaps we are all
more alike then we realize?
To tour the schools "Save As" the
attached kmz file to your computer (if
you did not get this file,
an email at
firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send it to you).
with Google Earth running in the background
browse your computer to where you saved the attached file and double
click. Return to Google Earth and you will see a new, default GE
file name appear in the "Temporary Places" file list on the left
side. Click once on that GM file to select it (a shadow box will
appear). Then with the kmz selected choose "Play Tour" from the
"Tools" drop-down menu. It might take 15-20 minutes to align the
views and run for the first time but after that the subsequent
“tours” of the 20 schools takes about 6 minutes. (So, let Google
run in the background or take a break from the computer during the
first slow run.) You may want to adjust the tour speed under
“Options” in the “Tools” menu to pause longer on each destination.
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- sent to teachers Feb 13, 2007)
Web sites, for all their charm, can be
tricky. If you ever have a problem or question don't hesitate to
call us at 304-856-1385 or email
I’m also available in the evenings at 304-258-7657. You may get a
chance to say “hi” to my wife Catherine.
Before starting the SCE Forum please
have your students complete the pre/post survey. They will repeat
the same survey at the conclusion so we can track how students’
attitudes and understandings change. You will need to dictate (or
write on the chalk board) the survey web page address so students
can type it into their browser bar and access it directly at:
If your school’s firewall prevents the
students from “submitting” the survey information via the internet
have them record their answers on paper (or in a digital form using
a copy/paste function) and contact us. We will work with you to
arrange for an alternative method of communication.
After taking the survey students enter
the SCE Forum by following these four steps:
2) follow the link at the top of the
page to the "e-school" or in bottom right corner to "The Potomac
Highlands Watershed School".
3) Go to the High School Classroom by
clicking on the door in the schoolhouse
4) Click on the phone on the desk
To help keep teachers in the loop when new classes join we have
added "eForum Updates" to the Teachers' Room (step 1 & 2 above but
go into the Teachers’ Room and look on the back wall for the link).
The Point-Of-View submissions link
will not be accepted until March 5th and then posted the weekend
of March 9-11. However, we encourage you to divide the class into
stakeholder groups earlier to begin writing POVs on paper, or in MS
Word, so they are prepared when the POV submission link is
P.S. Coming soon! Google Earth
“tour” of the twenty SCE Forum Schools.
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Rodgers - sent to
teachers Feb 6, 2007),
A pre/post survey
for students has been posted on the web site. Please ask your students
to complete this before they start their research. The survey takes
about five minutes and can be found at
You will need to dictate the web page address for students to type in
their browser bar since it will not be available to the general public
(we only want participating students to access the survey). You are
welcome to give it a try and suggestions/comments are welcome. You will
notice a “Control code (from your teacher):” box. We ask you
provide a word, or set of numbers, up to 10 digits for your
students to use. This will help separate classes within the same
school. It should also help deter any temptation students might have to
toy with the survey (for example sign on as a different school and
answer all the questions “wrong”). We will track when the surveys are
submitted but having the extra filter of a “code” will help identify any
bogus or erroneous submissions.
FYI: In addition
to the Stream Cleaner activity that is referenced and linked to in the
SCE Forum web pages we wanted to point out Decision Matrix. an activity
that invites students to take the role of a planner in an imaginary
county. Students learn about smart growth and are challenged to make
decisions. To quote the premise:
residents are hungry for economic growth, but also worry about how that
growth might affect their way of life. They hope the new County Planner
will direct the local economy along on a sustainable path, while
preserving the natural beauty and rural lifestyle of the county.” The
activity can be accessed through the black board in the
High School Classroom. It should be of
special interest to any school in an area under pressure from
development, as much of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is.
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(Frank Rodgers - Sent to
teachers Jan 26, 2007)
phase of the SCE Forum is open now and the students' dialogue runs from
March 3rd through the 25th. Some of you have seen the teachers’ lesson
plan. Please note Background #4 with a link to a Power Point
presentation on an overview of the Chesapeake Bay Program. It is a
great way to open the discussion but we recommend you download that
prior to class since the file is large. I believe everyone has seen the
Info & Sign up. Did you notice links for Teacher Tips and Highlights on
the left? You can access the teacher info through our main web page
www.cacaponinstitute.org. Follow the links to
the Potomac Highlands Watershed School and then the Teachers' room.
Once in the Teachers’ Room click on the High School Activities and then
the link for Environmental Forum (in bold) and link to a lesson plan.
You’ll notice links in the bottom left to access the other school
rooms. We’ve structure the web site to bring information up within the
room so if students accidentally close the lesson window they will still
be in the classroom.
We’ve updated the
SCE Forum (accessed through the telephone in the high school classroom)
with a connection to a map provided by the Chesapeake Bay program.
You’ll see a new paragraph at the end of the “Essential Background”
section. The entire 64,000 square mile Bay watershed is divided into
sub-watersheds and students can investigate land cover and other
statistics about their own watershed.
We are excited
the schools involved represent a wide gradient of socio-economic
backgrounds and varied geography. The SCE Forum is geared for all
levels. This multi-level approach engages more students and expands the
potential for dynamic role playing in the stakeholder development. We
have academically challenged students as well as AP level. The basics
are all included in the web site so students who are not strong in
research can keep up. For advanced students there are many strings of
topics suggested for more in depth research. For academically
challenged students we hope the peer pressure of the web-based dialogue
will let them see the value of staying in school and getting a sound
education. As one student put it to another student in the last eForum:
‘If you are going to question my point of view you had better learn how
to write first.”
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