We entered our Web site in CyberFair Category:
Businesses and Local Organizations
Description of "Our Community"
Hampton Bays is a small hamlet located at the eastern end of Long Island in the town of Southampton in New York State about 90 miles from New York City. It is about 40 square miles in area. We are surrounded by several bodies of water, including the Atlantic Ocean, the Peconic Bay, Shinnecock Bay, and Tiana Bay. As a summer resort community our population triples, but in the winter we have a total population of about 8000.
Summary of Our Project
Our project was to create a Hampton Bays hamlet website. All of the 4th and 5th grade students worked on this site. The students contacted local businesses and community organizations to try to learn about them and then they converted the info which was gathered into web pages for many businesses or organizations. The main focus was to develop a connection between the students and their community.
Our project completely supported curriculum requirements for 4th and 5th grade. In this interdisciplinary activity the subject areas of social studies, language arts, science, and arts were integrated throughout.
Students examined the interaction of people in our community with their physical environment. They observed societal effects on the environment and proposed alternative actions to improve this environment.
Careers and the types of jobs available in our community were explored.
Information gathered from the community was interpreted and related in a new form. The students took the facts which they received from the businesses and organizations and presented them in a format which was interesting to read on a web page. Writing skills, such as correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure were emphasized.
In communicating either face-to-face or by telephone with business people in the hamlet, the students learned the importance of asking specific questions to clarify meaning.
Students learned the importance of drawing or importing appropriate art into their web pages to achieve maximum impact. Creative page design was encouraged, and children quickly learned that there is too much art on a web page when the loading time takes too long.
Technology skills were integrated throughout. Students learned how to use a web authoring program, a drawing program, word processing, graphic manipulation, and scanning. They also learned that the lack of keyboarding skills has a great impact on the length of time it takes to create a web page.
For our project we used the following software:
- Adobe Pagemill 2.0
- Adobe PhotoShop
- ClarisWorks 4.0
- Kid Pix
- Paint Shop Pro
- Netscape Navigator Gold
- HTML Power Tools
- IMSI Premium Image Collection
And the following hardware:
- Mac LCs, LCIIs, LC550s, LC5200, and a Micron Home PC 166
- Apple Stylewriter 2500 Printer, Hewlett Packard Deskjet 682C
- Avec Scanner
- Global Teleport Modem
The children were definitely acting as ambassadors as they visited local businesses and interviewed our community residents and workers. They introduced themselves, explained our project, and asked questions. They discovered that there are a lot of very cooperative and friendly people working in our hamlet.
Even now as the children work on their web pages, they often need to telephone someone to get more information or to clarify something. They have been well received by the community members who seem to have a great respect for the work the students are doing.
When we began this project, we wrote letters to two of our local newspapers, The Southampton Press and The Southampton Independent, announcing that the project was starting and that we would be visiting shops, etc. We asked for input from community members. We asked for information and ideas. Both newspapers published our letter and several community members called and either asked to help or made a suggestion.
After our project was well underway and we were desperately trying to make the deadline, a reporter from The Southampton Press, Al Coppola, asked if he could visit our classroom. He wanted to write a story for the paper about what we were doing. His story, "Students Are Creating An H.B. Web Site," appeared on the front page of that paper the following week, and because of that we received many phone calls, e-mail messages, and materials for our website. His visit and subsequent news story re-energized us. We really felt good about what we were trying to accomplish.
The best part about our project is the way it has connected the children to our community. When we first discussed doing this, the children were asked how many shops did they think we had in our hamlet. The average guess was about 25. When told that the number exceeded 100, they were shocked. They have looked more deeply at their surroundings and discovered many things. One thing they have learned is that we live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Another thing they have learned is that we have problems here which need to be solved. The students are thinking about solutions, and that's important for the future of our community.
Our community seems to have a great deal of respect for the work we have been doing and has commended us for it. Shops which we inadvertently missed have contacted us and asked to be included. We have received only positive feedback from our neighbors.
Since we are a summer resort area, we are hopeful that our web pages about local accommodations and restaurants, as well as all of our other businesses, will be helpful to our visitors and attract tourists to the area.
The parents of our children generously gave of their time to take their children to visit the businesses and organizations in the hamlet to gather info for this website.
Many teachers helped us or offered to help even though they weren't directly involved in the project. One teacher, Mrs. Colina, volunteered to help us edit web pages during her prep period.
Community members gave us support so willingly and enthusiastically. Especially helpful were all of the people who filled out our surveys or responded to our many other requests for information.
Al Coppola, Southampton Press reporter, wrote a wonderful story about us and gave us a real boost when things were starting to get rough near deadline time.
Rev. Richard Earl, Pastor of the Assembly of God Church, volunteered to help the children by gathering information about all of the local churches.
Principal Marian Nasta and Dr. Carl Nelson, Superintendent of Schools, have been very supportive of our technology program, allowing us to become involved in this innovative activity.
Our school is also participating in the Long Island Team Village, which is a collaborative learning community, electronically connected by telecommunications. Among those participating are school districts, local businesses and industries on Long Island, community resource members, and the Educational Technology Department of Long Island University.
This spring we will be holding our 2nd Annual Senior Citizens Breakfast in our school. Senior Citizens of Hampton Bays are invited to our school for a breakfast and to meet some of our students and staff. It is a way of connecting our children and school to the senior part of the community. It was very successful last year and both children and seniors had a great time.
7. Some of the problems we encountered:
We ordered our web authoring software in the fall and it did not arrive until the beginning of February. This caused a great deal of problems because we ended up not having much time to get ready for the contest. We had done the research, but just did not have much time to complete the web pages we wanted to for the project. We worked extra hard though and managed to finish those which we have entered. Our plan is to continue this project through the year, and next year to include other topics of local interest. We would suggest that anyone doing a web project such as this one should allow A LOT of time for creating the web pages!