The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Bringing iPads into the classroom 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

iPad displayBy DAVID GREEN

Apple iPads have moved into Morenci Area High School, but it’s likely to be a while before they move on into the classroom.

High school teacher Deb Hojnacki talked about the devices at the school board meeting Monday and she explained why she’s been labeled the “resident expert”: simply because she owns one.

Other teachers who are interested in incorporating iPads into the classroom are  in the process of learning how to use them—similar to a smart phone—and how they can be of value.

Twenty iPads and a wheeled cart were purchased through an LISD technology grant called the Innovative Secondary Schools Initiative. Last year the district bought laptop computers with the funds; this year principal Kelli Campbell decided to look more to the future.

The LISD’s educational technology consultant, Greg Marten, expects mobile devices to find a growing use in the classroom.

“Mobile computing for many people, whether with an iPad or one of the other many types of devices, is the reality of today and tomorrow,” Marten said. “As educators, we are charged with preparing students for their futures, and in my opinion this should include the use of mobile computing devices for learning, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and communication.”

Hojnacki cautioned school board members against seeing the iPad tablet device as a mobile computer, although it does serve that purpose in many ways. 

Apps (short for applications) are what make the device hum, and there are tens of thousands available. Many are free, she said, although the really quality ones come at a cost. 

“There’s an app for everything, but you have to find it,” Hojnacki said.

At this time, the search can be challenging. The only way to find out what’s available is to go out and search, she said, and each teacher will need to find apps that are applicable to their classes.

Marten is also impressed with the large amount of audio and video material already available for use at no cost.

Hojnacki focuses on her special education students and sees a lot of value in the iPad for students who have difficulty reading (it will read the text for you) or writing (speak and it will write you words into text).

“Probably the biggest benefit is motivational,” she said. “Like it or not, this is the internet generation.”

Marten sees the devices are providing an easy tool for students to produce digital media, and that’s what he sees as the most powerful use of the device in the classroom.

“iPads used for media creation projects allow students to show what they know or are able to do in a modern, relevant, and engaging way,” he said.

The new iPads include a video camera that can be used to create presentations.

Digital presentation rather than something on paper will result in a paradigm change for educators, Hojnacki said, but she believes that’s the future.

What’s next?

Marten met recently with a few Morenci teachers who were interested in using the devices. He demonstrated the basics of using the tablet and gave some direction for educational use.

iPads can be aligned to a variety of common core education standards, he said, as well as to the state’s educational technology standards.

Hojnacki and colleague Kim Mohr, along with the district’s technology coordinator Hilda Jones, will soon attend an Apple-sponsored seminar to learn more.

Hojnacki expects teachers who are interested in incorporating iPads in the classroom will take time during the second trimester to better learn how to use them, to search for apps that will help students learn, and to plan on integrating the device into lessons.

“We’re not yet sure how to share them,” she said. “We’re still working on how to come up with a process, but staff has to become familiar with them first.”

She expects that to occur without much trouble.

“Everybody wants to touch them,” she said.

And that’s why she left the iPads in their cart at the meeting rather than passing them out to board members.

“Nobody would have been listening to me,” she said.

How they're being used...

A few school districts across the county have an iPad for every student. Some education officials expect the tablet to outnumber the computer in schools within five years.

iPad uses include:

• Incorporating Apple’s Garage Band software into music classes.

• A graphic calculator app.

• Documents from world history.

• Solar system simulation.

• Exploring via Google Earth.

• Math lessons incorporated into video games.

• Studying a video recording of physical education class exercises to see where improvement is needed.

• Pop-up videos imbedded into the text of a geometry book to further explain solutions.

• Replacing the paper textbook at a lower cost.

• Record-keeping software for teachers.

• Synching student iPads with the teacher’s for an instant reading of what students are understanding.

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