orca jelly

By Kelly Hudson, Rob Curry, Brenda Hough

"How can we better understand and preserve the water ecosystems in our area?"
      This is a collaborative project about the water and communities of living things we find in the freshwater lakes, rivers and streams;  the
brackish  water and salt marsh ecosystems of our Bay area wetlands and the saltwater environment found in the Oceans off of the Bay Area coast.

mediafestThis project involves a collaborative effort of 3 San Jose teachers and their classes.  As students are from different grade levels (2, 3 and 5) in different schools and in different districts, this project was an example of continual collaboration.  The teachers  and students extensively used email to communicate with the partnered classes.  The teachers also each had a Palm PDA to use as part of the project.  As a culminating experience, the 3 classes met one another for the first time at a local lake towards the end of the school year.
This project was recognized by the 2005 California Media Festival for Outstanding Multi-School and Multi-Grade Collaboration for Multimedia.


Fresh Water

Salt Marsh

Ocean Animal Reports

Freshwater Community Poems and Reports Salt Marsh Eco-Systems
Second Grade (.ppt)
Part1   Part 2   Part 3
 Second Grade Pond Poems
Second Grade
Salt Marsh
  Photo Essay
Third Grade

Scott-Sea Creatures
Kevin-Dangerous Fish
Margaret-Sea Shells
Patricia-Sea Creatures
Daniel-Dangerous Fish
Katrina-Blue Whales

Gail-All About Fish

Third Grade

Patricia & Khadijah
Gail & Katrina
David & Daniel
T.J. & Elizabeth
Nicky & Kevin
Cynthia & Ralph
Margaret & Barbara
Austin & Scott
Robert & Calvin
Third Grade

Pegrine Falcon
Sea Gulls
Song Sparrows
Whooping Cranes

Fifth Grade (.html)
Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Photo Essay
All 5th Grade Work is at:
Marine Ecosystems
Great White Shark  (.html) by Tien

Harbor Seals  by Linda C.
Sea Anenome (.ppt) by Julio
Zooplankton (.html) by Giselle T
Elephant Seal (.ppt) by Thien C Sea Otters by Diep
Sea Urchins by Jon Marcus

 Fifth Grade
All 5th Grade Work is at:
Riparian Communities
Snowy Egret by Joshua
Raccoon by Dennison
Duck by Brittany
Field Mouse by Aileen
Red Shouldered Hawk by Zack
Mosquito by Danny
Pacific Tree Frog by Kiet
Banana Slug by Oscar
Trout by Melanie

 Fifth Grade
Salt Marsh Study: Salinity
All 5th Grade Work is at:
Salt Marsh Ecosystems

Bird: Snowy Egret (.ppt) by Joshua
Bird: Great Blue Heron (.ppt) by Brian B.
Mammal: Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (.ppt) by Katie
Crustacean: Mud Crab (.html) by  Brian C.      
Crustacean: Shrimp (.ppt) by Nick

Project Objectives

Core Understandings
  • Our area has many different water ecosystems.
  • Each ecosystem has unique plants and animals adapted to that environment.
  • Each ecosystem has interdependent organisms.
Learning Objectives
  • The Students will be able to research different water ecosystems in our area.
  • The Students will be able to analyze different water ecosystems in our area.
  • The Students will be able to write reports about different water ecosystems in our area.
  • The Students will be able to work cooperatively in groups both within class and collaboratively with groups in other classes.
Content Standards for this Project


The watershed, marshland, San Francisco Bay and the coastal areas of the Bay Area are the dynamic areas we studied in this project..


Topic: Water Ecosystems


Life Cycles
Report Writing
Systems of Living Things

Curriculum Areas:

Focus: Science

History/Social Science
English/Language Arts


Samples of email Collaboration

From: elizabeth
To:  denise
Subject: hi
Date: Mon 25 Oct 2004 11:20:52 AM -0700

My name is Elizabeth.I'm eight years old.I am a girl. I'm in third
grade.My school is Valle Vista .I learn that we are enemies to the
ocean. Some fishes are fast swimmer.Please send me a letter after you
come from Montery bay.


Date: Fri 03 Dec 2004 11:12:35 AM -0800

Hello Ralph.I was born on June 6, 1994. I like penguins and have 3 pet
fish and 1 rabbit named Doggy. I am in the fifth grade and live in San Jose. That's all I got to say.

Date: Tue 01 Feb 2005 10:12:46 AM -0800
Dear Joshua, I am learning about trout.Trouts lay yellow eggs. They live in ponds.

Meet the Classes

mrshoughclassMrs. Hough's 2nd Grade
Baldwin Elementary School
Oak Grove School District
San Jose, CA

Our class is a great group of curious students seeking out knowledge!

khclassMrs. Hudson's 3rd Grade
Valle Vista School (link)
Mt. Pleasant School District San Jose, CA

Our class enjoys learning about the world around them.

rcclassMr. Curry's 5th Grade (web)
Vinci Park School
Berryessa Union School District
San Jose, CA

Our class lives up to our school name, the Vinci Park Explorers, as we explore the world around us through trips and virtually through the world wide web.

owlOur Culminating Activity

The 3 classes finally met each other on May 17, 2005 for a hike, games and owl pellet disection activity at San Jose's Lake Cunningham.  It was great for the student collaborators to meet their ePals.  See our photo page.


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