"Tech Rap" by Jovany Aguirre, 7th Grade, 2011-2012.


Tom R. Chambers taught Technology Applications for Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [charter] in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. (2007-2013). He also taught and advised Digital Photography, Digital/New Media Art and Broadcasting. His students' projects and accomplishments over a six-year period follow:

Mr. Chambers' Letter of Reference excerpts re: nomination for The Library of Congress Literacy Award/The David M. Rubenstein Prize (2013)

Comment from Mr. Raul Yzaguirre, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic about PANTHER NEWS and Mr. Chambers' teaching (2013)

2012-2013:

Facebook Search/Research - Immigration: Immigration is in the news as the American Congress deals with this issue in the context of an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Seventh grade students were tasked to search/research Immigration via Facebook, and then copy/paste their findings along with their comments into Microsoft Word to create a report. The exercise was a "one-shot" approach involving a 50-minute time period (per class) to also instill work ethic, time-management concerns and responsible behavior for delivering a product (report) within a time constraint or deadline.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Harmony Hills Elementary School Mentorship Workshop: Twenty-one students [eighth grade] from RYSS traveled to Harmony Hills Elementary School to mentor twenty third grade students in the use of graphics software. This mentorship process involved an intensive session of learning/practicing, and project application to make digital art.

Response - Gay Marriage : Eighth grade students were asked to respond to a pair of historic Supreme Court hearings (March, 2013) challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman. One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The justices could also make a ruling that would apply only to marriages in California. The second case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success (RYSS) - Houston Coalition for the Homeless (HCH) "Three Decades of Achievement" Event [April 5, 2013] : A core group of eighth grade students attended the Houston Coalition for the Homeless (HCH) "Three Decades of Achievement" event downtown Houston, April 5, 2013. They displayed a selection of the eighth grade class Digital Art about the homeless to not only call attention to this social issue, but also celebrate their humanity. They explained their (and classmates') multifaceted project that involved Word, PowerPoint and GIMP (graphic arts software).

"Homelessness" Digital Art (GIMP) : Eighth grade students used GIMP (Photoshop equivalent freeware) to create Digital Art about homelessness. The art online is a selection from the 8th grade class. They used images of homelessness situations to manipulate in GIMP for the art work. Not only did the students call attention to the plight of the homeless, but also celebrate their humanity through the Digital Art treatment of the images.This activity was in response to a learning service (campaign) initiative by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

"Homelessness" PowerPoint Presentations : Eighth grade students used PowerPoint to create presentations about homelessness. The presentations online are a selection from the 8th grade class. They researched homelessness on the Internet, and then utilized the information and their own words along with visuals to talk about, and advocate the end and prevention of this social problem. The presentations are an embellishment of their compositions written earlier. This activity was in response to a learning service (campaign) initiative by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

"Homelessness" Advocacy Essays : Eighth grade students were tasked to research homelessness on the Internet, and then write an advocacy essay in Microsoft Word to address this social issue. This activity was in response to a learning service (campaign) initiative by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

"Gun Violence in Schools" Brochures : Eighth grade students used Microsoft Publisher to create brochures re: "Gun Violence in Schools". This project is in response to the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (December 14, 2012) where 20 children and six adults (staff) lost their lives.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success (RYSS) - NASA International Space Station (ISS) Photographs of Earth II : RYSS College Prep Academy students (grades 6 - 8 ) requested photographs of Earth from the NASA International Space Station via the EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) mission program. They identified the locations on Earth via various orbital paths for the onboard camera to take their photographs.

Vocabulary Building via Web 2.0 Tools Sensitization : Seventh grade students (8th period vocabulary class) are working with vocabulary building via Web 2.0 tools sensitization. They are using VocabAhead.com to work with word meanings and concepts that apply to STAAR and SAT requirements. This exercise involves auditory and visual stimuli for greater understanding and retention of the word meanings. They are also working with Wordle.net They look up the definition, and then incorporate typography, design and color to study its meaning(s). This exercise ... "Wordle" approach ... provides an excitation factor to study.

"Homelessness" Brochures : Seventh grade students used Microsoft Publisher to create brochures re: "Homelessness" as part of the NCLR [National Council of La Raza] initiative/campaign to raise greater awareness about this social issue. They conducted research on the Internet, and then worked with this copy [text], their own words and pictures to put together these informational publications. The duality of the project placed the students in a situation to focus on this social issue they may address later in life in academia and at the workplace, and produce products ... brochures ... via publishing software to hone their skills in this respect and as they apply to this vocation. The students were also asked to present their brochures through projection and discussion. The brochures seen online are a selection from the seventh grade class.

Dear NEWTOWN : Seventh grade students were tasked to write letters of condolence in Microsoft Word, and then convert them to web pages. They utilized public domain background images to help convey their feelings re: the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. This exercise and tribute helped these students work out their feelings about the mass shooting that involved the killing of students the same age as many of their brothers, sisters, nephews/nieces, and cousins.

A Collection of HTML Short-short Stories : Seventh grade students were tasked to build web pages utilizing basic HTML via Notepad (hand coding), and then write "A Collection of Short-short Stories" ... one story per page and linked to the next ... to become sensitized to the programming language of HTML and improve their creative writing skills.

"Hispanic Heritage Month" PowerPoint Presentations : Seventh grade students used PowerPoint to create presentations based on "Hispanic Heritage Month" (September 15 - October 15). The PowerPoint presentations online are a selection from the 7th grade class. They researched "Hispanic Heritage Month" on the Internet, and then utilized the information and their own words along with visuals to describe this celebration.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success (RYSS) - NASA International Space Station (ISS) Photographs of Earth : RYSS College Prep Academy students (grades 6 - 8 ) requested photographs of Earth from the NASA International Space Station via the EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) mission program. They identified the locations on Earth via various orbital paths for the onboard camera to take their photographs.

PANTHER NEWS - KUHF/KUHA/KUHT Studios, Houston, Texas [November 5, 2012] : The PANTHER NEWS team traveled to the KUHF/KUHA/KUHT studios on the University of Houston campus to observe the television and radio stations' operations. Eric Ladau, Producer/Station Host toured the students through the Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting.

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Seventh grade students (Vocabulary Class/8th period) are involved with an ongoing Literacy Through Photography blog, and it involves a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. This blog, founded by Harold Olejarz and Tom R. Chambers continues to be a significant tool to help students with their written expression.

RYSS College Prep Academy "Open House" [Technology Applications, Grade 7], 10-16-2012 : Students' family members attended the RYSS College Prep Academy "Open House" [grades 6-8]. Photographs show 7th grade students with their family members in Mr. Chambers' Technology Applications class. They are showing their project, a PowerPoint presentation about Hispanic Heritage Month.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Harmony Hills Elementary School Mentorship Workshop: Twenty-two students [seventh grade] from RYSS traveled to Harmony Hills Elementary School to mentor twenty-one second grade students in the use of graphics software. This mentorship process involved an intensive session of learning/practicing, and project application to make digital art.

RYSS Vocabulary Extended Class Trip with the Houston Audubon Society (HAS): Seventh grade students in 8th period vocabulary class traveled with the Houston Audubon Society to four different sites in Southeast Houston to make photographs, and take notes in their journals re: vocabulary as it relates to Early Texas/Houston History (Grade 7 Texas History) and nature (Grade 7 Science). The four sites: Dawson Lunnon Cemetery, Glendale Cemetery, Mason Park and Sims Bayou Nature Center.

GIMP for Gala: Seventh grade classes used GIMP (graphic arts software - Photoshop equivalent) to make Digital Art for the Tejano Center for Community Concerns (TCCC)-Raul Yzaguirre School for Success (RYSS) Gala/Fundraiser (October 19, 2012). They utilized existing photographs made by RYSS students on various field trips with the Houston Audubon Society.

"Core Values" Vocabulary Building, 8th Period: Seventh grade students were tasked to research [online] the meanings of the College Prep Academy's [6-8] "Core Values" ... Honor, Responsibility, Commitment and Citizenship ... and then use Microsoft Word to write short paragraphs using those words.

PANTHER NEWS: Students from grades 6-12, College Prep Academy, Raul Yzaguirre School for Success are particpating as newscasters for "Panther News". They are broadcasting "live" via the Web 2.0 tool, USTREAM twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) from 8:05-8:10am (USA, CT). The premiere broadcast was on September 13, 2012. This process is not only providing media literacy for the student team, but it is also enhancing their skills of collecting and assimilating information for public consumption, not to mention their skills of being able to articulate ("speak").

9/11 Tribute [11th Anniversary] Compositions: Seventh grade students used Microsoft Word to create compositions to pay respect to those victims who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The year 2012 marks the Eleventh Anniversary of the tragic events, and several of the compositions were read at a special ceremony in the College Prep Academy, Raul Yzaguirre School for Success, September 11. Note: most of the students were one or two year(s) of age when the attacks took place, so the composition exercise is also one of creating a greater awareness of this tragic event in American history.

2011-2012:

Resumes For RYSS: Eighth grade students were asked to explore their past up to now via a resume to begin to prepare for entry into high school as Freshmen. During the process, there was a realization that their participation in and contributions to the educational process along with various achievements and accomplishments over the past eight or nine years had merit and meaning for the future as they prepared to enter high school.

Dublin/RYSS Space Weather/NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale [MMS] 2014 Digital Art Exhibition: Eighth grade students at Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] [Houston, Texas], and fifth grade students at Dublin Intermediate School [Dublin, Texas] exhibited their Digital Art in Dublin, Texas [June, 2012] based on research of Space weather and the NASA MMS [Magnetospheric Multiscale] 2014 Mission.

Excel it! : Eighth grade students were tasked to learn the basics of Microsoft Excel to be able to use this spreadsheet software for data input, and then represent the database visually as a chart [column]. They researched real data [their choice] on the Internet, and incorporated pertinent pictures for additional, visual excitation.

Web 2.0 Tools Sensitization : Eighth grade students were tasked to understand, and use various Web 2.0 tools. Web 2.0 is a loosely defined intersection of web application features that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web.

HAS Sims Photo Teaching and Documentation: Seventh and eighth grade students [Enrichment Class] traveled to Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center under the sponsorship of the Houston Audubon Society to teach nature photography to students [second - fifth grades, Vanguard program] from Askew Elementary School [Houston, Texas], and document those same students cleaning the grounds and planting trees at the center.

My World Transformed: This project is a culmination of middle school students [Enrichment Class] at Raul Yzaguirre School For Success (Houston, Texas) working to explore their personal environment [bedroom at home] to provide photo documentation for the making of Digital Art. During the process, a greater awareness of "self" through possessions came to the forefront.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Dublin [TX] Middle and Primary Schools Mentorship Workshops: Nineteen eighth grade students from Raul Yzaguirre School for Success [RYSS] traveled to Dublin Middle and Primary Schools [Dublin, TX] to mentor fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in the use of graphics software to create digital art re: Space weather and NASA's MMS [Magnetospheric Multiscale] 2014 Mission.

DA_NASA_MMS_RYSS: Eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and research re: Space weather and NASA's MMS [Magnetospheric Multiscale] 2014 Mission. The students were tasked to research the various topics/concepts about Space weather [Sun, Sunspots, solar flares, CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections), solar winds, Earth, Earth's magnetic fields, Earth's magnetosphere, magnetic reconnection, Auroas] as well as NASA's MMS 2014 Mission, and then translate the information in photo software as Digital Art.

Creating the future we want: Eighth grade students wrote compositions in Microsoft Word as part of The Goi Peace Foundation and UNESCO international essay contest, "Creating the future we want." UNESCO's objective is to help empower young people, reaching out to them, responding to their expectations and ideas, and fostering useful and long-lasting skills.

Company Flyers: Eighth grade students were tasked to research Houston company websites to produce flyers in Microsoft Publisher. They became familiar with their respective companies' products and services, and then used company information, visuals and their words [copywriting/advertising] to construct 8 1/2" X 11" flyers to inform the general public, and promote the companies.

FACE II: As a part of after school programming, this exhibition is a culmination of 7th and 8th grade students working to explore self-portraiture as Digital Art. It is in keeping with Mr. Chambers' project, "TOM SERIES" and the exhibition, "The FACE: Evolution of Portrait in Photography".

Tribute to African Americans : Collective Research by the 8th Grade Class [core group]: the students were asked to do collective research at the Library of Congress web site to pay tribute to the African Americans and in keeping with African American Heritage Month [February]. They collected photographs and information about the African Americans from The William A. Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs. This tribute to the African Americans is also a classroom exercise to create greater awareness of the utilization of the Library of Congress web site to study.

RYSS "Core Values" PowerPoint Presentations: Eighth grade students used PowerPoint to create presentations based on the Junior Academy's theme of "Core Values". The students were challenged to take control of the teaching process to explain the "Core Values" ... Responsibility, Commitment, Honor, and Citizenship ... at the third and fourth grade levels.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Junior and Primary Academies Mentorship Workshop II: Eighth grade students mentored fifth grade students in the use of graphics software [GIMP (freeware Photoshop equivalent)] to create digital art.

Bullying Digital Art: Eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and research re: bullying via the Internet as part of the NCLR [National Council of La Raza] initiative/campaign against bullying. They were tasked to translate their research in photo software as Digital Art. As a result, greater understanding of the social problem came to the forefront with acquired skills of manipulating photographs ... utilizing various tools and filters within the software.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Junior and Primary Academies Mentorship Workshop : Seventh grade students mentored fifth grade students in the use of graphics software [GIMP (freeware Photoshop equivalent)] to create digital art.

Bullying Project/NCLR/8: Eighth grade students wrote opinion papers in Microsoft Word as part of the NCLR [National Council of La Raza] initiative/campaign against bullying. They honed their writing and word processing skills as they became more sensitized to the issue of bullying via research on the Internet.

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are involved with an ongoing Literacy Through Photography blog, and it involves a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. This blog, founded by Harold Olejarz and Tom R. Chambers continues to be a significant tool to help students with their written expression.

Bullying Project/NCLR/7: Seventh grade students produced brochures, posters, Web banners and opinion papers [Microsoft Publisher, GIMP, Microsoft Word] as part of the NCLR [National Council of La Raza] initiative/campaign against bullying. They honed their publishing skills as they became more sensitized to the issue of bullying via research on the Internet and organization of their information and visuals within the software.

WEB LINES: Creative Writing Through Acquisition of HTML Skills : Seventh grade students utilized source code writing [HTML] to incorporate their thoughts as Web-based. They were given the unbridled task of expressing themselves from "within" as they worked with building simple web pages. Writing from the "mind and heart" was stressed to encourage the development of creative writing. The "fantastical" process of content appearing on a web page due to a bit of programming language [HTML] was a motivating force for the students to continue, and complete their source code writing.

Tribute to Native Americans : Collective Research by the 7th Grade Class: the students were asked to do collective research at the Library of Congress web site to pay tribute to the Native Americans and in keeping with Native American Heritage Month [November]. They collected photographs and information about the Native Americans that Edward Curtis documented in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This tribute to the Native Americans is also a classroom exercise to create greater awareness of the utilization of the Library of Congress web site to study.

Alexander's Angel : This exhibition is a culmination of Mr. Chambers' enrichment class [6,7,8 grades] working with their Houston Audubon Society field trip photographs [Alexander Chapel, Cedar Bayou Methodist Cemetery, Baytown, Texas] of an angel figurine to make Digital Art.

Nature - History Mix : Mr. Chambers' enrichment class [6,7,8 grades] traveled to Baytown [Texas] under the sponsorship of the Houston Audubon Society to make photographs of nature displays at the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Education Center, Wetlands area, Cedar Bayou, Alexander Chapel [Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist], Cedar Bayou Methodist Cemetery and San Jacinto Monument/Wetlands area.

To know one's parents ... : To know one's parents is an important aspect of everyone's life, and the teacher [Mr. Chambers] regrets that he never reached out to his mother and father to know what kind of individuals - human beings - they were. He mentioned to his enrichment class [sixth, seventh and eighth grade students] that he had a big "hole" in his heart because of not knowing who his parents were, and he didn't want them [students] to have the same regret. Mr. Chambers believes that this project - "To know one's parents ..." - moved the students towards seeing their parents in a different light.

RYSS "Core Values" Project : Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and vocabulary building through word identification/meaning via the Internet. The students were given the RYSS four "Core Values" [Junior Academy theme] ... HONOR, RESPONSIBILITY, COMMITMENT, CITIZENSHIP ... to research the meaning of online, and then translate those meanings in photo software as Digital Art. As a result, vocabulary enhancement came to the forefront with acquired skills of manipulating photographs ... utilizing various tools and filters within the software.

9/11 Tribute PowerPoint Presentations : Seventh grade students used PowerPoint 2010 to create presentations to pay respect to those victims who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The year 2011 marked the Tenth Anniversary of the tragic events, and several of the presentations were shown at a special ceremony in the Junior Academy, September 9. The PowerPoint presentations online are a selection from the 7th grade class. Note: most of the students were two or three years old when the attacks took place, so the PowerPoint exercise is also one of creating a greater awareness of this tragic event in American history.

NASA Saturn V Tour, Lunar Lab Tour and Opuntia Cactus Research Discussion : A core group of RYSS 8th grade students traveled to NASA with Mr. Chambers to assist researchers of the Opuntia cactus by making an impartial, independent video documentary of the research project which explores the important economic, social and technological issues related to the role that plants play in the exploration of space and the environmental problems facing the world. The students also toured the Saturn V building and the Lunar Laboratory [Building 31] where the lunar samples are in permanent storage in a physically secure and non-contaminating environment.

2010-2011:

WEB THOUGHTS: Creative Writing Through Acquisition of HTML Skills : Seventh grade students utilized source code writing [HTML] to incorporate their thoughts as Web-based. They were given the unbridled task of expressing themselves from "within" as they worked with building simple web pages. Writing from the "mind and heart" was stressed to encourage the development of creative writing. The "fantastical" process of content appearing on a web page due to a bit of programming language [HTML] was a motivating force for the students to continue, and complete their source code writing.

Resumes For RYSS: Eighth grade students were asked to explore their past up to now via a resume to begin to prepare for entry into high school as Freshmen. During the process, there was a realization that their participation in and contributions to the educational process along with various achievements and accomplishments over the past eight or nine years had merit and meaning for the future as they prepared to enter high school.

The Banner Ad: Advertising on the Internet : Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software to create a banner ad/Web banner to begin to understand this form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. Its purpose is to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. One standard size used by the students: 728X90 pixels.

Student Opinon Papers re: Media Influence on Teenagers : Seventh grade students were tasked to research "media influence on teenagers" on the Internet, produce brochures in Publisher about their findings, and then write their own opinions. Mr. Chambers is currently working with various colleagues and politicians to begin to look at the possibility of placing statements on media advertising and products to encourage students to stay in school, study harder, graduate from high school, and go to college. He is of the opinion that the establishment needs to get the attention of today's youth before it can seriously consider education reform. He feels that media is responsible for the lethargy that is seen in classrooms across America, and he feels that it should be held accountable. The students' opinions tend to reflect Mr. Chambers' concerns.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Harmony Hills Elementary School Mentorship Workshop: Nineteen students [seventh grade] from RYSS traveled to Harmony Hills Elementary School to mentor nineteen third grade students in the use of graphics software. This mentorship process involved an intensive session of learning/practicing, and project application to make digital art.

HAS Art : As a part of after school programming, this exhibition is a culmination of 6th and 7th grade students working with their Houston Audubon Society field trip photographs [High Island and Galveston Bay, Galveston, Texas] to make Digital Art.

SARAH : As a part of after school programming, this exhibition is a culmination of 6th and 7th grade students working with their photographs of a particular headstone at the Old City Cemetery in Galveston, Texas to make Digital Art. The point of the project is to add relevance to the study of Early American History by making a connection with an individual ... "a real person" ... who was born shortly after the American Revolution, and whose remains are now at the cemetery ... just a few feet below the headstone. This immediacy of the remains and the original headstone brought this history "closer" to the students as they documented the gravesite, and later, made Digital Art to pay their respects to Sarah. [March 30, 2011].

High Island and Galveston Bay : Sixth and seventh grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of High Island and Galveston Bay, March 30, 2011. The student photographs will be displayed at a Houston Audubon Society event in Houston, Texas. These photographs were utilized with third grade students at Harmony Hills Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas to study the coastal ecosystems in the state [view field trip].

DA_LA7_RYSS: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and vocabulary building through Grade 7 Language Arts word identification/meaning via the Internet to make Digital Art.

Math PowerPoint Presentations : Seventh grade students used PowerPoint 2010 to create presentations based on TEKS/TAKS Grade 7 Math concepts. The PowerPoint presentations online are a selection from the 7th grade class. The students were challenged to take control of the teaching process to make Math more exciting and interesting to study. They researched the concepts online, then used visuals, text and animation to bring them "to life". Note: editing in progress on additional presentations. It is hoped that some/all of these presentations will be used in Grade 7 Math classes as supplementary teaching tools.

FACE_RYSS: As a part of after school programming, this exhibition is a culmination of 6th and 7th grade students working to explore self-portraiture as Digital Art. It is in keeping with the exhibition, "The FACE: Evolution of Portrait in Photography" at the State Novosibirsk Historical Museum, Russia, February 16 - March 14, 2011.

NASA Tour for RYSS Students: As an additional thank you for the students' participation in the NASA STEM Educational Outreach Program, they [eighth graders] were invited to take a special tour of NASA, which included the Space Shuttle Flight Control Room, International Space Station Flight Control Room, Apollo Era Mission Operations Control Room [floor tour], Space Vehicle Mockup Facility [floor tour], Sonny Carter Training Facility/Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and "Space Center". The program is related to the International Space Station (ISS) as a National Laboratory.

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - T.H. Rogers School Mentorship Workshop : Twenty-nine middle school students [eighth grade] from RYSS traveled to T.H. Rogers School to mentor their photo/art students [9-12] in the use of graphics software. This mentorship process involved an intensive session of learning/practicing, and project application to make digital art.

Sound Editing: The Production of Electronica Loops : Eighth grade students were tasked to work with an existing piece of music [public domain (free), downloaded from the Internet] to create their own sound as "Electronica" loops. They honed their skills with Audacity, sound editing/mixing software as they became aware of this genre of music that artists/musicians are creating worldwide in academia and at the workplace [sound production].

Kleb Woods Nature Preserve : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of Kleb Woods Nature Preserve, Hockley, Texas, November 2, 2010. The student photographs will be displayed at a Houston Audubon Society event this coming Spring, Houston, Texas [view field trip].

Social Issues Brochures: Eighth grade students used Microsoft Publisher 2007 to create 8 1/2" X 11", two-fold brochures about social issues. They conducted research on the Internet, then worked with this copy [text], their own words and pictures to put together these informational publications. The duality of the project placed the students in a situation to focus on issues they may address later in life in academia and at the workplace, and produce products ... brochures ... via publishing software to hone their skills in this respect and as they apply to this vocation. The students were also asked to present their brochures through projection and discussion so there would be a crossover for all social issues per class for greater awareness/understanding as well as public speaking practice per student. The brochures seen online are a selection from the 8th grade class. They show the inside and outside, three panels per side [Note: the photos/images were downloaded from the Internet strictly for educational purposes.] [brochure production].

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are involved with an ongoing Literacy Through Photography blog, and it involves a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. This blog, founded by Harold Olejarz and Tom R. Chambers continues to be a significant tool to help students with their written expression.

NASA STEM Educational Outreach Program at Raul Yzaguirre School For Success : Two core groups of students [8th Grade] participated in this pilot program by setting up three Space Science experiments, or activities in the Technology Applications classroom to explore, and learn Engineering, Science, and Math concepts. The program is related to the International Space Station (ISS) as a National Laboratory.

Letters of Appreciation: Eighth grade students were asked to write letters of appreciation to President Sebastian Pinera for his support during the rescue of the miners at the San Jose Mine in Chile. The students were tasked to write formal letters as they became more aware of the Chilean mine disaster, and rescue. The 2010 Copiapo mining accident occurred on 5 August 2010, when part of the San Jose copper-gold mine near Copiapo, Chile collapsed, leaving 33 men trapped deep below ground. The miners survived underground for a record 68 to 69 days. All 33 were rescued and brought to the surface on October 13, 2010.

DA_SS8_RYSS: Eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and Grade 8 Social Studies research via the Internet to make Digital Art. Aspects of Early American History [First Semester] were searched and researched in combination with downloaded images to visualize the information for greater retention. This project was shown [slide show] as a part of the 6th annual Carnival of e-Creativity & Change-agents Conclave [2011 CeC & CaC], Sattal Estate, Bhimtal, India, February 18 - 20, 2011.

Letters of Congratulations: Eighth grade students were asked to write letters of congratulations to Mr. Raul Humberto Yzaguirre on becoming the U. S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Mr. Yzaguirre was nominated by President Obama, and confirmed by the U. S. Senate. This is a very special assignment since the students' school ... Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [Houston, Texas] ... is named after this prominent civil rights activist for Hispanics. And the assignment is in keeping with Hispanic Heritage Month [September 15 - October 15]. The students were tasked to write formal letters as they became more aware of their school's namesake, Hispanic rights, and the ambassadorship process.

2009-2010:

Resumes For RYSS: Eighth grade students were asked to explore their past up to now via a resume to begin to prepare for entry into high school as Freshmen. During the process, there was a realization that their participation in and contributions to the educational process along with various achievements and accomplishments over the past eight or nine years had merit and meaning for the future as they prepared to enter high school.

Early Texas History ... Field Trip to Somerville: Eighth grade students traveled to Somerville, Texas at the invitation of Mayor Don "Skipper" Murray II to see Texas Longhorn cattle, eat "Sloppy Joes" at Somerville Lake, and tour the Somerville Area Museum to experience Early Texas History. The trip was arranged by Tom R. Chambers, Technology Applications Teacher at RYSS via Dr. Pete Pederson, Curator of the museum and Barbara Pederson, City Administrator.

Social Issues Documentaries: Eighth grade students used Movie Maker to create documentaries about social issues. The documentaries online are a selection from the 8th grade class. The students were asked to do research on their specific issues via the Internet, then use the information with visuals to enhance their movie editing skills [sequencing, timing, transitions, titling (typography)] to tell their stories. It was mentioned to the students that they were involved with a process that is practiced worldwide in various industries that require movie editing.

Science PowerPoint Presentations : Eighth grade students used PowerPoint 2007 to create presentations based on TEKS/TAKS Grade 8 Science concepts. The PowerPoint presentations online are a selection from the 8th grade class. The students were challenged to take control of the teaching process to make Science more exciting and interesting to study. They researched the concepts online, then used visuals, text and animation to bring them "to life". Several of these student presentations were used as a part of the teacher's [Tom R. Chambers] presentation ... "Technology and Creativity in the Classroom" ... at the Region 4 Science Conference, Houston, Texas, February 20, 2010. Note: editing in progress on additional presentations. It is hoped that some/all of these presentations will be used in Grade 8 Science classes as supplementary teaching tools.

RYSS Brochures: Eighth grade students used Microsoft Publisher 2007 to create 8 1/2" X 11", two-fold brochures to promote their school. They utilized the school's website to collect information, then worked with this copy [text], their own words and pictures to put together these promotional publications. The brochures seen online are a selection from the 8th grade class. They show the inside and outside, three panels per side. Printed samples will be shown to the Superintendent for him to consider utilizing a student-generated publication to present the school to the community [Note: the photos/images were downloaded from the Internet strictly for educational purposes.] [brochure production].

Big Thicket National Preserve : Sixth and eighth grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of Big Thicket National Preserve, East Texas. The student photographs were displayed as a part of the Festival on the Bayou at Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston, Texas, May 8, 2010 [11AM - 3PM] [view field trip].

Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Crespo Fine Arts Academy Mentorship Workshop: Thirteen middle school students [seventh grade] from RYSS traveled to Crespo Fine Arts Academy to mentor 26 fifth grade students in the use of graphics software. This mentorship process involved an intensive morning session of learning and practicing, and an afternoon session of project application to make digital art. The workshop has set a precedent, and there is discussion of it being implemented at other schools. Chambers states, "I'm always proud of all of my students, but I am particularly proud of these 13 seventh graders who eagerly took on the challenge of doing more for themselves, their school and their community."

Point Bolivar and Galveston Bay: Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of Point Bolivar and Galveston Bay. The student photographs were displayed as a part of the Festival on the Bayou at Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston, Texas, May 8, 2010 [11AM - 3PM] [view field trip].

The Banner Ad: Advertising on the Internet: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software to create a banner ad/Web banner to begin to understand this form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. Its purpose is to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. One standard size used by the students: 728X90 pixels [view slide show].

Paul Revere: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving the Internet and GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software to research/study Paul Revere/The American Revolution and make Digital Art. This project is currently featured in the School Spotlight section of The Paul Revere House Museum website [view slide show; download slide show; school spotlight PDF].

Writing Of Web-based Children's Stories Through Acquisition of HTML Skills : This story writing focuses on children's books that target 2-, 3-, 4-year olds to teach this age group morals and values. The students were tasked to write original stories that have a message, then move their stories into Web page format [via source code writing ... HTML] in combination with visuals/artwork and through linkage [page to page]. Writing these kinds of stories ... based on morals and values ... for young children should also have an effect on the writers ... these seventh grade students ... to evaluate who they are and how they behave.

Gulf Coast/East Coast Digital Art Collaboration : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are exchanging images with students at Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.] for manipulation to generate Digital Art.

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students connected with FotoFest International [Houston] to participate in the organization's Literacy Through Photography [LTP] program as a pilot project via a photo blog. It's ongoing, and it involves a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. The LTP blog was showcased at the FotoFest FotoFence 2010 LTP exhibition [Houston, Texas, U.S.A.], May 9 - 19, 2010 [PowerPoint presentation] [PDF presentation].

"I am What I Learn": A core group of seventh grade students put together their movies [script audio/photos] using XP Movie Maker ... first time for hands-on this software ... to participate in this contest sponsored by the Obama Administration/Department of Education and YouTube.

DA_SCI7_RYSS: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and vocabulary building through Grade 7 Science word identification/meaning via the Internet to make Digital Art. This project was shown as a part of the 5th annual Carnival of e-Creativity & Change-agents Conclave [2010 CeC & CaC], February 19 - 21, 2010, Sattal Estate, Bhimtal, India.

2008-2009:

Computers and History: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Microsoft Word to write compositions based on the theme, "Computers and History". They submitted their compositions in the contest to celebrate "Children's Day/Dia del Nino". This year [2009] is the XVIII edition. Since 1990, the vision of the organizers of the contest has been: "With computer knowledge, you can be free and independent." This is a cooperation between private, community and public sectors to help in the development of children in the Houston Independent School District.

PANTHER TV: Seventh and eighth grade students as a part of Power Time were involved in TV broadcasting ... field reporting, interviews, surveys, feature stories [in front of and behind the video camera] and video editing.

The Banner Ad: Advertising on the Internet : Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software to create a banner ad/Web banner to begin to understand this form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. Its purpose is to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. One standard size used by the students: 728X90 pixels.

DA_7_8_RYSS: Seventh and eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software and vocabulary building through word identification/meaning via the Internet to make Digital Art. Exhibitions: East End Gallery, Houston Institute For Culture, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., January 7 - February 16, 2009 [PARENTS TOUR]; 4th annual Carnival of e-Creativity & Change-agents Conclave [2009 CeC & CaC], Sattal Estate, Bhimtal, India, February 27 to March 1, 2009; Talento Bilingue de Houston, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., August 3 - October 29, 2009; Lobby Gallery, Bob Lanier Public Works Building, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., November 6, 2009 - April 25, 2010; City Council Lobby Gallery, City Hall [Cultural Affairs, Mayor's Office], Houston, Texas, U.S.A., April 26 - May 17, 2010.

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Seventh and eighth grade students connected with FotoFest International [Houston] to participate in the organization's Literacy Through Photography [LTP] program as a pilot project via a photo blog. It involved a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. The LTP blog was showcased at the FotoFest FotoFence 2009 LTP exhibition [Houston, Texas, U.S.A.], May 17, 2009 [PowerPoint presentation] [PDF presentation].

Gulf Coast/East Coast Digital Art Collaboration : Seventh and eighth grade students exchanged images with students at Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.] for manipulation to generate Digital Art [The Digital Photo Age, The Wyckoff Journal, Bergen County, New Jersey, U.S.A., January, 2009].

Post Ike: Seventh and eighth grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of High Island and Galveston Bay after Hurricane Ike damaged these areas in 2008. The student photographs were displayed as a part of the HAS Gala, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. [March 5, 2009] [GALA].

New Digital Age: Young Photographers: Seventh and eighth grade students connected with the Novosibirsk State Art Museum in Novosibirsk, Russia to exhibit their photographs in a student group show [March, 2009].

Obama Letters of Support: Seventh and eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Microsoft Word to write letters of support for Democratic candidate, Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential Election. Copies of the letters were sent to Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago, Illinois and several days later, the students received a letter from the candidate thanking them for their support and encouraging them to be better citizens.

President Obama's Agenda: Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Internet research at www.whitehouse.gov and PowerPoint software to create presentations based on the various categories of President Obama's Agenda to follow up his letter of thanks and encouragement and indicate interest in his plans for America ... and the world ... during the next four years. The presentations were sent to the White House hoping this would precipitate a Presidential visit to Raul Yzaguirre School For Success to meet these students and others.

9-11 Tribute: A core group of eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Internet research [image] and Microsoft Word to express their feelings about the terrorist attack on America, September 11, 2001 and pay tribute to those individuals who lost their lives. They presented ... read aloud ... their compositions at the Junior Academy Tribute Assembly, 9-11-2008.

2007-2008:

The Banner Ad: Advertising on the Internet : Seventh grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving GIMP 2 [Photoshop equivalent] photo software to create a banner ad to begin to understand this form of advertising on the World Wide Web. This form of online advertising involves embedding an advertisement into a web page. Its purpose is to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser. One standard size used by the students: 728X90 pixels.

New Jersey/Texas LTP Collaboration : Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students connected with FotoFest International [Houston] to participate in the organization's Literacy Through Photography [LTP] program as a pilot project via a photo blog. It involved a collaboration with Eisenhower Middle School [Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.A.]. The LTP blog was showcased at the FotoFest FotoFence 2008 LTP exhibition [Houston, Texas, U.S.A.], May, 2008 [FotoFence 2008 Exhibition [movie/24MB]] [ PowerPoint presentation] [PDF presentation].

Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center: Seventh and eighth grade students connected with the Houston Audubon Society [HAS] to provide coverage of the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center [Field Trip (movie/20MB)]. The student photographs were displayed as a part of the HAS Gala, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. [November, 2008].

Web Page Building: Seventh and eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Notepad and the web browser, Internet Explorer [IE] to begin to understand the process of building or constructing web pages via basic HTML [Hyper Text Markup Language]. The students learned how to use this form of tags, surrounded by angle brackets, to place text, links, tables, headings, paragraphs, lists, embedded images, and other objects onto the page.

Creative Excel: Texas City Populations: Seventh and eighth grade students participated in a classroom assignment involving Internet research [data and image] and Microsoft Excel to generate databases about Texas city populations and their respective charts to extend this spreadsheet program as a creative tool.

OTHER:

Comment from Mr. Raul Yzaguirre, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic about PANTHER NEWS and Mr. Chambers' teaching (2013): Ambassador Yzaguirre is a Civil Rights Activist, and he was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic by President Obama. Raul Yzaguirre School for Success is named after him, and he has attended various activities at the school. He sent Mr. Chambers an e-mail message about PANTHER NEWS and Mr. Chambers' teaching.

Mr. Chambers' "Public Thanks" listing via LinkedIn: Mr. Chambers publicly thanks those entities and individuals via LinkedIn re: his students' involvement with projects, field trips, etc.

Mr. Chambers' Letter of Reference excerpts re: nomination for The Library of Congress Literacy Award/The David M. Rubenstein Prize (2013): Mr. Chambers was nominated for this literacy award for his work with students at Raul Yzaguirre School for Success.

ePals PowerPoint Presentation/TCEA 2013 Convention (movie version/wmv): Mr. Chambers gave a PowerPoint presentation at the ePals booth/TCEA 2013 convention re: the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission 2014/Space Weather Raul Yzaguirre School for Success/Dublin ISD Student Digital Art Workshop.

San Antonio Field Trip [2012-2013]: Seventh graders traveled to the missions, San Jose and "The Alamo" coordinated by Mr. Herrera (History) and Mr. Valle (ELA) to provide an opportunity for additional study of history [Photographs by Mr. Tom Chambers, Technology Applications teacher].

College Prep Academy Career and STEM Fair [2012-2013]: Sixth, seventh, eighth and twelfth graders attended the Career and STEM Fair at RYSS to become more aware of educational and job opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Several area colleges and NASA were in attendance with their displays. Mr. Chambers' displayed his student accomplishments with two NASA-related STEM projects: EarthKAM Space photography from the International Space Station; and Space Weather/NASA MMS 2014 Mission Digital Art Workshop, RYSS and Dublin (Texas) ISD. Mr. Lewis and Mr. Moreno displayed their Robotics activities with the RYSS students [Photographs by Mr. Tom Chambers, Technology Applications teacher].

Mr. Chambers' "MEE" Seminar re: Technology in the Classroom: Mr. Chambers gave a seminar ... "MEE" ... for the Technology Applications Teacher Network [TATN] at the Texas Computer Education Association [TCEA] Conference, Austin, Texas, February 6-10, 2012.

Mr. Chambers' "Tweets" re: Education and Technology: A PDF listing of Mr. Chambers' "Tweets" re: Education and Technology.

Mr. Chambers' Technology Applications Classroom: Views of Mr. Chambers' Technology Applications classroom, 2012-2013 school year.

College Wall: Close to 100 colleges and universities donated their posters and pennants to the Junior Academy at Raul Yzaguirre School For Success so a "College Wall" could be constructed to begin to instill within the students the importance of getting good grades, staying in school and obtaining a higher degree [Mr. Tom Chambers, Technology Applications teacher, organizer] [Video by Mr. Tom Chambers] [2010-2011].

Organic Farming Field Trip : Seventh grade students observed, and participated in organic farming at Farmart [The Last Organic Outpost] in Houston, Texas [Mr. Javier Herrera, History teacher, organizer] [Photographs by Mr. Tom Chambers, Technology Applications teacher] [2010-2011].

Community Service Field Trip: Seventh grade students participated in community service activities by weeding garden beds for a community center in Galveston, Texas [Ms. Maria Lopez, Health teacher, organizer] [Photographs by Mr. Tom Chambers, Technology Applications teacher] [2010-2011].