** A Cyber Tour of Historic Flemington, New Jersey **


Information About Our Site

**Link to Our CyberFair 98 Entry**

**No official school home page yet;

but click on the book to see Copper Hill School. **


Date of Project: ** March 27, 1998 **

School: ** Copper Hill School **

District: ** Flemington-Raritan School District**

City: ** Ringoes, New Jersey, United States **

Teachers or Classes:

How many students worked on this project? ** 25 **

Their ages were: ** 8-11 ** years of age

Project Contact Email: * jroyer@frsd.k12.nj.us **


Project Overview

We entered our Web site in CyberFair Category:

** Historical Landmark **


Description of "Our Community"

** The area now called Flemington was originally the home of the Lenape Indians, a Delaware tribe that offered hospitality and friendship to the new colonists locating here. Settlers from many countries liked the area and made it there home as well. This community, part of Raritan Township in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, was considered a bread basket colony during our country's colonial period. Today's Flemington is still an agricultural community. Many of our farms, however, are now being lost to housing developments and many of our historic sites are being over shadowed by growth and development. **

 

Summary of Our Project

** Local History is part of our district's curriculum. Each year students in third grade study historic Flemington. Using teacher-made packets of background material, the students learn about the area and prepare for a walking tour of the community. We want to create a visual experience that would supplement classroom discussions, prepare the students for their field trip, and provide an additional source of information about historic Flemington. We also want to incorporate components that would expand classroom discussions and be meaningful to curriculum areas for others grades. We hope this web site will preserve our local history and bring it to life for our students. We also hope it will make our community accessible to others who may share a common interest with us.**

 

Our Internet Access

** Copper Hill did not obtain access until January of this year. Our Internet provider is Digix. Since we are relatively new to this, we have had a few problems. Our staff is patient, however, and recognizes the potential for using the Internet in our classrooms. Our entire building, including the library media center, computer lab, classrooms, special area rooms, and special education department are all networked. Most work stations are connected and using Internet Explorer and Microsoft Exchange.**

 

Problems We Had To Overcome

** Our building network was installed in December of 1997, and anxious to workwith the new technology, we entered the competition shortly after . Our network, however, was not yet stable so we experienced some frustrating days when the network was down and we were scheduled to collect data and work with students. We also greatly underestimated the difficulty we would have obtaining a scanner. Since we did not have released time to work on the project, all our work had to be done after school, and this added additional pressure to the project. Assigning projects and coordinating activities was also challenging since we did not work with one particular grade level or class, but rather a multiage group of students grade 3-5. This provided us with a wide range of approaches to the project, but the varying abilities, made locating appropriate source material on historic Flemington somewhat difficult. Since this was our school's first web project of any kind, we were uncertain as to what to expect and how to allocate time to the specific task. The many "unknowns" and "uncontrollable variables" made things somewhat nerve-racking at times, but we tried to keep a sense of humor during the project and keep our sights set on March 31.**

 

Our Project Sound Bite

** Since web authoring is another way to showcase student writing, we are planning to exhibit our web site in the district's Writing Fair on April 22, 1998. **


Project Elements

1) How did your activities and research for this International School CyberFair project support your required coursework and curriculum requirements?

* This project incorporates several areas from the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, especially these from the language arts component: 1) All students will listen actively in a variety of situations to information from a variety of sources; 2) All students will write clear, concise, organized language that varies content and form for different audiences and different purpose; 3) all students will read various materials and text with comprehension and critical analysis; 4) All students will view, understand, and use non-textual visual information.

The study of Flemington 's history is a required unit for grade three in our district. Previously, third grade teachers made packets of information for the students which they summarized from adult reference sources. We hope that publishing local history resources prepared by students on the Internet will interest other students from our district to learn about our community.

Our students use traditional resource strategies combined with the new skills of Internet searching and interviewing experts to gather material for the web site. Students worked in multiage groups when preparing their articles. they frequently had to verify with others in their group. They became quite good at sharing relevant facts with peers working on related topics. Small groups combined individual notes to prepare one piece on each topic. There were frequent revisions of each article. Each group was responsible for putting their finished piece on a disk and submitting it for final editing.

Because our local newspaper has an excellent web site on the Lindbergh Trial, our students took a real interest in the newspaper as a reference source. Several students brought in a recent news article from our local paper, The Hunterdon County Democrat, that was related to our project. They added a "news flash" to a completed piece on the Lindbergh Trail. Our retellings of local lore and legend were an offshoot of a group discussion about fact versus opinion.

It is easy to "get carried away" when designing a web site because as teachers we frequently expand curriculum topics to integrate several areas. The Internet is perfect for this strategy. Several teachers in our school have expressed an interest in preparing their own sites. We hope that the knowledge which we acquired during this project will assist our colleagues in the development of their own web projects.

The Internet has the potential to be an effective teaching tool but most teachers have not been given the support, training and planning time needed to successfully master the art of electronic teaching. It will not support traditional teaching but will support and enhance it.

 


2) What information tools and technologies did you use to complete your CyberFair project?

* Copper Hill School used the following to complete its web project:

telephones

scanner

computers

digital cameras

35 mm camera

print and non-print reference materials

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Exchange

Claris Home Page

ClarisWorks

historic photographs

oral interviews

Internet site for free icons

Macintosh computers, Claris Home Page, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Exchange were our most valuable tools. Without these our finished produce would not have been possible. Print and non-print reference sources were also essential as they provided the foundation of our site.

Originally we had great difficulty in locating a scanner that worked. We finally ended up with two. One was loaned to us by Chuck McMullin, the librarian's husband. The personal property of Lea Stroebele, a fourth grade teacher who was kind enough to bring her scanner from home and help us connect it.

The Hunterdon County Library loaned us books on historic Flemington and our third grade teachers loaned us materials from their own personal collections.


3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

* Our students contacted members of our district staff inquiring about anecdotes or other information the teachers might contribute about historic Flemington, New Jersey . Other topics also included the Revolutionary War and the Lenape Indians. The students interviewed teachers in our building and e-mailed teachers in the district's other elementary schools. As a result of these interviews, two other teachers joined our original committee.

Other students interviewed family members and friends asking about their recollections of Flemington in days past. One student contacted the local historical society, and another located local commercial web sites looking for information about our town. We e-mailed the local high school and requested that they add a link to our site from theirs. We also contacted the local newspapers in search of specific photographs for our site.

Once our site is on-line, we hope to continue this "ambassadorship" by communicating with other people who live in communities with the surname "Fleming" incorporated in their name. We also have invited community members to contact us if they can add facts or folklore related to our designated historic sites. We also are planning to display our website during the district's writing fair for our parents and other members of the school community.**


4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

* Midway through the project, technological problems beyond our control made the committee uncertain as to whether we should continue with the web site. Everyone at Copper Hill School was very supportive and offered help and moral support. After a desperate plea for a working scanner, a fourth grade teacher brought her scanner from home and the librarian's husband also loaned us a scanner.

Our technicians helped whenever they could to correct network problems (which we found out later were related to a malfunction at our local phone company). Second grade teacher, Bob Colavita, our resident "web expert", generously shared his expertise with us.

The web master at Hunterdon Central High School has graciously agreed to link to our site from the excellent site at the high school. This should greatly expand our reach since many of our previous students might be interested in viewing our site.

We hope that our web site will encourage other teachers to publish students' work electronically. We hope they will view the Internet as a place to share information with other teachers; an excellent location to store and retrieve data for classroom use; and a source of information an ideas to enhance studies. **


5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

* All of Copper Hill's teachers who were aware of our project were very supportive and offered assistance and moral support. The students worked diligently for hours at a time to complete their part of the project and their parents generously picked them up at 5:00 each week. Mrs. Loizeaux, our official photographer, took pictures of all our historic locations for inclusion on our web site. Everyone we contacted for link permission graciously consented. Mr. Greaney from Hunterdon Central High School agreed to offer a link from the high school to our site and offered his support should we need his expertise.

The CyberFair Committee never lost sight of its goal, even when the view was murky. Since this is the first web project for our school, we were not aware of the implications of such a project. It truly was a learning process for everyone and we now know what to expect when constructing a web site. Other teachers are now interested in designing web sites for class and special area projects.**


6) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises

* As the project evolved, we kept thinking up other ideas to add to our site. To keep the scope manageable, we tabled these ideas for future development. One of our biggest surprises was, after all the time and consternation over the project, we are actually looking forward to revising the site to incorporate these tabled ideas.

We were also surprised that teachers not involved in the project have approached us for assistance in developing their own sites. We further surprised ourselves by agreeing to help.

The entire process was a learning experience for us. It would be impossible to list all the lessons learned during the completion of the project. However, one thing that stays in the forefront of our collective memory is- when using technology with students, always have a "Plan B".**

 

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