Thursday, February 27, 2014

Digital Learning Day

On February 5, 2014 Harrison Elementary Schools Academic Learning Coach, Eric Wahl, led his school in “Digital Learning Day.”  Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience.

Digital Learning emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere. Digital Learning also provides individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their fullest potential to succeed in college and a career.  

Eric stated, “I am proud to say that I am part of such an innovative, risk-taking staff that appreciates all that digital learning is.  I know our students benefit from our willingness to incorporate meaningful technologies into everyday classroom learning.”  

Here are a few resources that you could use to plan digital learning in your classrooms.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Evan Riley Band Presents “BOOKENDS: Volumes. 1,2,3

A person may wonder what motivated Evan Riley to write the song “Promise”.  Evan, who is a father of two, wrote this song after two teachers had children pass away at an early age.

“BOOKENDS: Volume 1,2,3” is centered on love and loss. The project explores the world of life and death. The focus is not just music but literature, video, and art. Evan states, “ I really wanted to create an artistic project that could speak to the immensity of life and death in our lives.” Evan also wanted to create something that would bring people together. This includes individuals directly involved in the project and individuals who can help the project become a reality.

BOOKENDS: Volume 1 is a full-length concept CD featuring artwork by Julie Foote.

BOOKENDS: Volumes 2 & 3 consists of two companion stories inspired by lyrics from the CD written by T.S. Hall and Michael Mood.

“Life Dance” will be the official video of an original song that is uplifting and celebrates life.

Evan wants to document the making of this huge project, which will include recording in the studio, artists at work, interviews, and the entire KICKSTARTER process.

This project is much bigger than a collection of songs. It is a project that speaks to the heart of who we are and why we are here.  We hope this project can help bring people together to heal, remember those that have passed away, and celebrate life and all of its complexities.

If you would like to donate or read more about the project please click on the link below. Please consider helping to make this project a reality.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Rock the School House Awards Grants

They are best known by their day jobs – educating students in the School District of Janesville. In addition to the rigors these educators encounter daily, a group of nine musicians added to their busy schedules by performing for a school district fundraiser.
The School District of Janesville presented “Rock the School House” on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the Janesville Performing Arts Center.  “Rock the School House” is a fundraising event for several district organizations.

The following activities received funds as a result of the “Rock the School House” fundraiser:

Parker and Craig High School for Washington Seminar (Joe Van Rooy and Scott Gudgel)  $1500

Craig High School for the Global Economic Summit (Fritz Elsen) $1500

Parker High School for Robotics (Bob Getka and Tom Heiss)  $1500

Janesville Academy for International Studies for Nuclear Nonproliferation Conference and Model United Nations (Jane Thompson) $1500

Harrison Elementary School for the Bridges Conference (Chris Kohn and Lee Gruber) $1500

Madison, Roosevelt and Washington Elementary Schools for Biztown, Junior Achievement. (Amanda Werner, Lynn Little, Beth Ulring, Mark Housley and Erica Brunker) $500 each

This year, the committee selected grant recipients from known programs that distinguished themselves over a period of years or new programs that desired to get established.  Students in many of these programs were an integral part in making “Rock the School House” happen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rock the School House” The Sequel

On Thursday, February 27, 2014, JATV will be showing a Blu-ray disc of “Rock the School House.”   This event will be shown on a 5 ft. by 9.5 ft.  screen in the upstairs program room at the Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main Street Janesville, WI 53548.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the actual presentation begins at 6:00 p.m.  Seating is first come, first serve, and limited to 50-60 guests.

A $5.00 donation is suggested.  

DVDs will be available for purchase.   DVDs are $15.00 each; Blu ray discs are $25.00.

Fifty percent of any combination of DVD sales and donations exceeding $250.00, will go to School District of Janesville grant funds.

Concessions will be available in the ground floor coffee shop run by the Friends of Hedberg Public Library.

Monday, February 17, 2014


When you walk into Fritz Elsen’s room at Craig High School you immediately sense something different and exciting. Dozens of flags, posters and stunning artifacts - all created by his students - greet you. You may not be sure what Fritz teachers, but you know it has an international emphasis.

Fritz teaches Honors Global Studies, a program he developed. On Wednesday of last week, he opened up his classroom to students from other classes and programs throughout our district to take a virtual trip to Jordan. Thanks to the technology efforts of Stacci Barganz, Fritz’ classroom was linked up to Jordon where Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple from were reporting live from the Za’Atari Syrian refugee camp on the conditions at the camp and the status of the 130,000 Syrian refugees who have lost everything except their lives and the clothes on their backs after fleeing the terror and death in their homeland.

Due to a critical leadership meeting that morning, I was unable to attend Fritz’ trip to Jordan, but I was provided details of the event. I started to shiver with excitement when I heard about it. This is exactly what our technology efforts, led by Dr. Bob Smiley, are all about. This is exactly what our Janesville International Education Program is all about. There is an exciting and challenging world of learning opportunities outside the physical borders of the School District of Janesville. Fritz and Stacci provided students in our district that opportunity last week.

Fritz opened his classroom to all. Attending Wednesday’s “trip” were Gabby Hanson-Parker and Pedro Arvizo from the district’s Washington Seminar program. Gabby and Pedro are studying the Syria conflict and its effect on the Middle East in Joe VanRooy’s AP Government class at Parker.

Also attending was Sam Plutchak, a member of Craig’s Amnesty International Club. Sam was one of two students in Fritz’ classroom to ask a question and get an answer directly from the two representatives. Sam wanted to know how we can help the refugees. Zach suggested that we can all help by logging on to  and explore ways to learn about the plight of refugees around the world and ways to help them.

Yes, the link to Jordan was a two-way path – students in Fritz’ classroom could see and hear the two men in Jordan, and from Jordan they could see and hear the students at Craig.

Fritz and Stacci put a new face on global studies. They took our district’s students outside the classroom walls at Craig and put them on an international stage. Our students had an opportunity to learn first-hand and live from experts at the scene.

I’m getting shivers of excitement all over again just talking about it and thinking of future possibilities.

My deepest appreciation goes out to Fritz, Stacci and all the staff and students who make the School District of Janesville a place where we serve our community by educating every student.