Ms Hos-McGrane's Class
Projects on the Web
Grades 5 & 6

About This Site

The Web site is a collaboration between two teachers--one of whom lives in San Francisco in California, the other in Amsterdam in The Netherlands.


The Web site began with a series of joint projects between two teachers in March, 1996 when both were working at the International School of Amsterdam. One of the teachers had access to "html authoring shareware" and server space through her personal dial-up Internet account. The other, a Grade 6 teacher had undertaken a number of curriculum projects with her class and was interested in having the students learn about publishing, presentation and, of course, using the Internet and the World Wide Web.


At that time, the webmaster had been designated as one of the computer resource managers for the middle and secondary schools. She would visit the classroom, talk with the grade six teacher and students, take photographs to illustrate some of the projects and download selected resource sites from the Internet which would help the students do research for some of their projects. (See related resources on the students' project pages.) The two teachers discussed the "look and feel" of the site and showed parents and students print-outs of some of the on-line projects.

The classroom teacher & students in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In Spring 1996 the Grade Six classroom did not have direct access to the Internet --though students could visit the pages "live" from their home computers. Everyone seemed quite enthusiastic about the projects. They received a number of e-mail messages from parents, friends and relatives of the students living outside of The Netherlands who were pleased to be able to visit their pages.

The following academic year, the webmaster moved to San Francisco and the International School of Amsterdam was connected to the Internet. The two agreed to continue their collaboration via e-mail and shared access to the Internet server in Amsterdam (still from the original personal dial-up account). Before leaving Amsterdam, the webmaster talked with the owner of the ISP who agreed to donate space on their server for these projects.

From September 1996 to June 1997 the two colleagues continued to work on creating and publishing student projects, discussing the possibilities

on-line and exchanging e-mail with some of the students. Projects included: Icebergs and Glaciers, more Geotopia, and original folk tales written by the Grade Six students. The final project of the year was the Ancient History Project --the goal of which was to showcase the students' on-line exploration of eight different ancient civilizations.

In August 1997, the Amsterdam teacher moved from Grade Six to Grade Five and and thus began a new chapter in the history of the web site.

The current school year started well and the two teachers have published several Grade Five Student Projects which were shown to the parents during parent conferences as part of their children's portfolio of work.

The purpose of the task was to have them familiarize themselves with Web resources while learning more about an Ancient Civilization of their choice.


The way it works now:

a. The classroom teacher announces the project to the students and gives them the option of researching and publishing their product on the Web (note: not all students are represented--many students are reluctant to post on such a public forum). The students and teacher are the acknowledged copyright holders of the materials.

b. The teacher collects the work and sends via e-mail (or in snail mail) to the webmaster who puts the work into html, scans graphics, and produces a draft copy which is posted to the "staging site" where teacher and students can view before going "live" on the Net.

They then work on corrections, additions, mechanics, useful links, copyright acknowledgments etc. During the editing phase the teacher, students and webmaster communicate almost daily via e-mail to keep up with the changes. When they have agreed on the final version, the pages are then posted to the live site and linked to the home page menu.

c. In the case of the Ancient History Projects, there are many resource URLs because the students did some of their research with 'WebQuest's" using preselected Internet materials for student research (and adding others later). The students also did research in the library using books, magazines and CD-Roms. They had to deal with a lot of materials written in different registers with often contradictory information--as in the real world.

The purpose of that task was to have them familiarize themselves with Web resources (not as gospel but as additional resources), learn more about an Ancient Civilization of their choice, and finally, to have each group prepare a multi-media presentation for their classmates where they would synthesize the information they had collected from all their sources. Finally, the teacher and students discussed which of the presentations could be published for their Ancient History web project.

What the students have enjoyed most are the interactive aspects of publishing on the Web and hearing from other schools and individuals.

The webmaster designed a prototype of the site and discussed the layout, content, navigation routes and links with the class. As you can see, the resource links are still being updated and expanded. In the case of graphics, where necessary, they contacted the copyright holders, who have been incredibly generous in allowing them to publish thumbnails, adaptations, and links buttons with their sites/ materials.

d) For their most recent project Pole to Pole they have ventured into their first experiment with "multimedia" by including small MIDI sound files in some of the student projects. The goal in the future to be able to include MIDI files of the students' own musical performances on their site. (Note: The software for accessing the sound files is free--a Netscape or Explorer "quicktime plug-in" can be downloaded from the Internet and requires version 3 of either browser. For Macintosh users no additional hardware is necessary ; PC users must purchase an additional sound card for their hardware. These are widely available and very affordable.)


That's a bit of a background on the pages. Despite all the hype about technology solutions for education--they have chosen a rather low-tech solution for their web publication. Each has access to a Macintosh computer, an Internet account and mostly shareware html authoring tools. Server space in Amsterdam was donated from their old ISP and the only real professional software used is Photoshop 4.0 and a flatbed scanner.

Both students and teachers have been able to explore the technology and were in a better position to take advantage of the possibilities afforded once the school had its own connection to the Internet.

The webmaster currently living
in San Francisco, California

The payoff comes in learning how to use this technology and growing with the students. What they have enjoyed most is the interactive aspects of publishing on the Web and learning from other schools and individuals.

Thank you for visiting the site and if you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact us at the e-mail address below.