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Students get connected to Palm Pilots at Doub

August 29, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

With Palm Pilots in hand, Emma K. Doub School for the Arts and Integrated Technology's fifth-grade magnet class sketched on the screens of their tiny computers the group's first word of the week - procrastinate.

Their teacher, Dan Henderson, instructed the 18 gifted and talented students on how to enter the new vocabulary word onto the screen of the handheld organizer, telling them to write and enter one letter of the word at a time so they could make a slide show presentation out of it.

Every fifth-grader at Emma K. Doub, as part of the first-year magnet school's technology focus, will learn how to use Palm Pilots in nearly every subject of their elementary school schedule.

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A majority of Henderson's students, who on this day were oohing and aahing over the computer's features, had skipped recess the day before to explore its capabilities.

Billy Jarvis, 10, a student in Henderson's class, was one of those who skipped recess. He said he thinks the small devices are fun, especially since he has learned to send messages to his classmates.

His magnet class is "a little harder" than the types of classes he took at Fountain Rock Elementary School the year before, but he said he enjoys the challenge.

Henderson, who taught at Lincolnshire Elementary School last year, said he likes the challenge of addressing the needs of more advanced students.

His students, after reading the first chapter of the novel, "The Giver," discussed what they learned.

Sonya Barnes, principal of the magnet school, said that the school's students - second- through fifth-graders at Emma K. Doub and pre-kindergarten through first-grade students at Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education - will get an enhanced education in art and technology.

She said there are about 550 students in the two schools, with 79 students, in four separate classes in second through fifth grade, enrolled in the magnet program.

While Barnes, who is stationed at Emma K. Doub, is the head principal of the combined schools, Susan Burger, an educator with a history in primary grades, is assistant principal at Funkstown.

"My role is to see the whole picture, to see kids from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade as part of one school," Barnes said. "It's my responsibility to see that there's a flow from pre-K through fifth grade."

Barnes said the setup changes the dynamics of those schools, and she said that overall, teachers are embracing the magnet school concept.

"It's rejuvenated a lot of people," she said.

Barnes said there's a potential to connect Funkstown and Emma K. Doub students by pairing them as e-mail buddies.

As part of the schools' consolidation, teachers in media, art and music are shared between both sets of students.

This school year, Fountaindale School for the Arts and Academic Excellence, the school system's first magnet school, enters its second year as a performing and visual arts magnet school.

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