Press of Atlantic City, The (NJ)

May 19, 2003

DIANE D'AMICO Education Writer, (609) 272-7241

Joyce Burns spent weeks teaching Egg Harbor Township Intermediate School fifth-graders to use Power Point, Excel and Publisher.

Next she wanted them to do a real-life project using those programs. She chose something close to her heart.

"Eating right really doesn't get all the attention it should," she said. "And I don't want my students to become computer potatoes."

Burns' students made posters about good nutrition to hang in school. They researched healthy recipes and created their own cookbooks. They held a food tasting of unusual fruits and vegetables, including brussel sprouts and kiwi, rated them and tracked them on a spreadsheet.

"I'd never had radishes or kiwi, but I liked them," Branden White said.

Laura Stanhope thought radishes were "weird."

Burns' project, "Good Nutrition Webquest" was recently recognized by the Southern Regional Educational Technology Training Center with the grand prize in its annual "Technology in the Classroom" contest.

ETTC Director Anu Vedantham said the judges were impressed by all the different programs Burns' students used, and her use of technology to teach about health.

"It was very clear that the students ran the project and Burns acted only as a facilitator," Vedantham said.

She said the projects have become increasingly sophisticated since the contest began six years ago.

"The children are so much more advanced," she said. "They're using Publisher in first grade."

Six other projects won in different age groups.

* First place, pre-K to second grade:

Teachers: Teri Gragg and Maureen Baldwin, Brigantine Elementary School

Project: "My Arctic Adopted Animal"

First-graders drew pictures of Arctic animals, which were transferred onto soft pillows. The students wrote short stories about their animals as part of a larger lesson on the Arctic.

"This is the first time we saw Publisher being used with this young an age group," Vedantham said.

* First place, grades three to five, long-term project:

Teacher: Karen Antunes, Brigantine North Middle School

Project: "Box of Chocolates - Math is Sweet"

Antunes' students made small chocolates of clay, and then pasted fraction problems on the bottom. The problems tied into a Power Point computer program on which the students solved the problems. If they were wrong, the program prompted them through a lesson on fractions to get the right answer.

"The students learned math, there are problems at all levels - and it was nice to see an attractive package that taught fractions," Vedantham said.

* First place, grades three to five, Short-term project:

Teacher: Kathy Fox, Brigantine North Middle School

Project: "Grandparents R Great"

Students designed Web pages to honor their grandparents. They wrote essays and poems, did templates with storyboards and added photos. They also did a self-assessment on their work.

* First place, grades six through eight, long-term project:

Teacher: Sherry Liepe, Attales School, Absecon

Project: WWII Living History Project

Students interviewed World War II veterans, wrote their stories and posted them on a Web site that is linked to the school Web site at

* First place, grades six through eight, short-term project:

Teacher: Carla Hockenberry, Davies Middle School, Hamilton Township

Project: Using Nets in Geometry

How would you spend $1 million? Hockenberry's students planned elaborate vacations, trotted the globe, built a school, started a border collie rescue farm and developed programs for the Palestinian Orphan Care Society. They tracked their plans and expenses on a spreadsheet program.

* First place, grades nine through 12, long-term project:

Teacher: Monica Masi, Atlantic County Vocational Technical School

Project: Marketing and Promoting Business

Students researched, designed and built a CD-Rom promoting Atlantic County.

All of the winning entries will be posted on the ETTC Web site at

To e-mail Diane D'Amico at The Press:

Illustration:(1) Egg Harbor Township fifth-graders display posters on good nutrition that
they made using Power Point, Excel and Publisher. Their teacher Joyce Burns
earned recognition for creating the project. Staff color photo(s) by Ben
(2) Brigantine Elementary School art teacher Teri Gragg, first-grader Jack
Cordivari and computer teacher Maureen Baldwin work on their Arctic animals
project, in which students used Publisher. Staff color photo(s) by Vernon

Copyright, 2003, South Jersey Publishing Company t/a The Press of Atlantic City