Entries Categorized as 'about'

Imagemaps with the GIMP

November 4, 2010

I’m just testing out a simple image map created with the GIMP. The GIMP is a free image manipulation software, a bit like Photoshop, not quite as sophisticated, but free. I used GimpTalk‘s very helpful guide. I though it would be easiest if I used something from a previous post as a test.

You should be able to click on the cell walls, chloroplasts, vacuole and nucleus. The links take you to the associated Wikipedia pages, but that’s just because this is a quick and dirty example. Image maps have been around for a long time, but I believe this is the first time I’ve ever created one. Now I just need to animate it a bit.





Unfortunately, this image is not easily scalable, though it should not be too hard to find (or write) a script to do just that.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Imagemaps with the GIMP, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

LaTeX

September 9, 2010

The easy way to stick mathematical equations into documents would probably be to use Microsoft’s Equation Editor in Word. But that makes it difficult to transfer things from one computer to another, especially if someone does not have MS Word. I prefer to use LaTeX. It’s free, open-source and usually pretty easy to set up on a server. It enables me to put equations inline on the class wiki and now, thanks to the Easy LaTeX plugin I can have them on the blog too.

I’ve been wanting to do this especially since doing the jam algebra post. Then I was lucky that I could, just barely, do everything with text. Now, however, instead of:

(7) 0.4 s / 0.4 = 0.6 j / 0.4

I can do this:
(7)

 \frac{0.4 s}{0.4} = \frac{0.6 j}{0.4}

Which has it’s pluses and minuses. However, before I would not have been able to do this (at least not very easily):

 \sqrt{x} = \sqrt[2]{x^1} = x^{\frac{1}{2}}

Using the LaTeX math markup is not exactly trivial (if you put your cursor over the equation you can see it), but Kocbach (date unknown) and Downes (2002) are great resources.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. LaTeX, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Montessori Middle School Training/Research Projects

July 2, 2010

Maria Montessori developed her method teaching through careful observation of children and how they learn, which is why her method had held up so well over time and aligns so well with modern pedagogy (see Lillard, 2005). Montessori’s worked early childhood through elementary kids, and while she did some serious thinking and writing about secondary education, she did not put those thoughts into action herself.

Over the last 20 years or so Betsy Coe has developed, at School of the Woods, an exceptional middle school (and now high school) program based on Montessori’s ideas and tied to close observation of early adolescents and our growing understanding of their cognitive and neurological development. Unlike Montessori’s boarding school model (e.g. Hershey Montessori), Dr. Coe’s is primarily a day school but with “land-labs” one week out of every six, where student get to go out and live on the land.

There’s a lot to say about Dr. Coe’s program (which will be well explained in her upcoming book) but you can glean some of her influence from this blog, because I trained with her over the last two summers at the Houston Montessori Center.

One of the key tenets that Coe shares with Montessori is that the primary job of the teacher is to observe the students, their interactions and their environment. You apply the scientific process to the classroom. Observe, hypothesize, test and make the necessary changes. As such, a key part of the training program is the research project.

For the research project teachers in training have to apply the process to some aspect of their class and write it up. My own project was on the utility of my classroom wiki, which I’ve said a bit about previously. My peers did quite a wide variety of excellent projects, and I’ve asked them to share their experiences with me for the blog. I’m one of those people who’d collect bits of string because they might be useful in the future (hence the blog), so I’m loathe to let their experiences and efforts just disappear since it is unlikely that much of this work will be published.

I plan to post summaries of the research projects so there is a record of who did what, and I apologize for any mistakes I make in condensing the work. My goal is to create at least one node for discussion so that we might add these small anecdotes to the collective gestalt as we attempt to not replicate the interesting errors of others but make brand-new errors of our own.

Since most of this work is not formal research I’ll use the tag anecdotal research to help keep track of things.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Montessori Middle School Training/Research Projects, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Books to read

June 19, 2010

They’re books I plan to read (at some point) because they were recommended by someone I trust for some reason. They may be great, they may be controversial, I can’t offer any guarantees, but they’re all fairly influential in their way. I’m posting them here so I don’t forget that I plan to read them, and I’m more than happy to hear comments on the books before I read them. Spoilers are welcome.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Books to read, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Personal Mission Statement: Draft

June 10, 2010

Through modeling this behavior myself, my goal is to instill in students the sense of wonder and curiosity about this remarkable world and universe in which we live. That wonder will enable students to accord the planet and people who live on it, near and far, the respect that they deserve. As such, the classroom becomes a safe place with windows open to the environment and the community through which students can explore and study their world.

Well there’s a start. The question is, does that clearly and accurately define my vision and goals for self & classroom? Comments appreciated.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Personal Mission Statement: Draft, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Citing a blog

February 13, 2010

Because my students use a lot of online sources I always emphasize the importance of watching out for copyright infringement and making sure they cite their references. This is easy enough to say but for a lot of internet content there is a lot of conflicting information about how to write citations.

Blogs in particular are difficult to cite, so I thought it would be useful to add the citation to the bottom of each of my blog posts as an example (it also allowed me to figure out how to write a WordPress Plugin). After looking at a number of referencing styles I finally settled on the Yale University Writing Center’s APA format.

You should be able to see what it looks like below. I’ve made parts of the reference links, which help connect directly to the post and the website, but do not greatly affect the official style.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Citing a blog, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Hello world!

November 22, 2009

Because I can never remember even half of the great stuff I would like to use in my Montessori Middle School Class, I’ve created this little, external, supplement so I don’t have to.

The theme of this blog is spotlighting the beautiful, odd, perplexing things that might attract the curiosity of the early adolescent.

Please help yourself, and I’d love to have your comments if you use something and it worked (or especially if it did not).

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2009. Hello world!, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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