Hi, I'm Anne Wessels and I teach Technology to the Moscow Charter School 3-6th graders. I began teaching at MCS in September 2006. In addition to teaching, I maintain the computers and other technology at MCS and coordinate Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) and Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) testing. I was raised and educated in Ohio. I met my husband Duane after I moved to Colorado, and we moved to Moscow from Boulder, CO with our son Colin in 2006 to be closer to family. Colin is in Mr. Cole's first grade class and loving every minute of school with the famous Mr. Ibe Cole!
I earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Toledo, and a master's in Telecommunications Management from Ohio University. My husband Duane is even more of a technology geek than I am. He volunteers his firewall expertise and manages safe web site access for MCS students and all computer users on the campus.
Real World Lessons - Software
In technology class, MCS students work with MS Office Suite tools particularly Excel - on lessons about record keeping of "MCS Banks". Students earn "MCS Money" for use at school-wide markets that occur twice each school year. Students record and update their banks with MS Excel and learn to format cells and create formulas to credit and debit their bank accounts. They learn lessons in the importance of saving their files, and keeping track of their files after they save them.
The sixth graders return from McCall Outdoor Science School with a lot of information. I ask the students to use MCS Office and Excel to create graphs and charts to display their research on soil types and tree inventory.
I guide students in the use of Crystal ICT online to:
- Develop modeling skills
- Solve problems
- Make decisions
- Learn spatial awareness
- Explore "what if..." variables
- Use simple Logo
Technology Logo classes allow the students to use Pro-Bot, a turtle robot, cleverly disguised as a race car. Pro-Bot offers students an enticing, engaging, and hands-on experience with Logo programming as well as robotic controls.
Crystal Rainforest is a tool that teaches:
- Angle and rotation
- Problem solving
And, Mission Control allows students to learn:
- Turning outputs on and off to control devices
- Entering simple commands (one at a time)
- Entering lists of commands/building procedures
- Problem solving
Another fun lesson involves having students plot their name initials on grid paper using Logo commands. They use me as the 'turtle' they're accustomed to guiding, and I walk out their commands and procedures in the great room. Logo is a valuable and motivational educational tool and a fun way to learn about geometry and math and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.. See more at (http://www.terrapinlogo.com/)
Even third graders experience early programming by using Help!, a program that shows them sorting within different criteria - shape & color
- Recognizing shape
- Number sequencing
- Recognizing properties of materials
- Problem solving
- Decision making
I really enjoy teaching students about Internet research. One fun project is to explore how to use the Internet for solving a mission. One recent mission involved having students ride their virtual bikes from MCS to the Moscow public library. They used maps to determine distance, directions and the duration of the trip. Students are expected to research the on-line library catalog to locate a book about a timely subject. For example, during Black History Month, I ask students to record the call number and publication date of the book titled: "George Washington Carver : the peanut scientist." Other parts of the mission include selecting and pricing produce at the Moscow Food Co-Op and "shopping" competitive pricing for airline flights to travel to Alaska to participate in the Iditarod. We also research the Iditarod race and track the routes, mushers and dogs and the history of the event.
Throughout mission lessons, students are required to attribute all of their research by citing websites and reading more about the source of the information they discover.
Your child is probably using Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math while at MCS. I manage the student accounts and assist teachers with reporting and database management related to those programs. MCS also uses Aims Web, Read Naturally and Lexia Learning software. I am responsible for maintaining student and teacher accounts and for some reporting.
Technology at Moscow Charter School is fun, exciting and continually evolving. I'm happy to be helping our awesome students learn technology!