Grade: Middle
Subject: Science

#3212. Ripley's Freaky Fridays

Science, level: Middle
Posted Fri Sep 3 10:56:54 PDT 2004 by Steve O'Keefe (
Ripley's Freaky Fridays, New Orleans, USA
Materials Required: Computer, Internet connection, free registration on
Activity Time: 1 hour
Concepts Taught: Online Classroom Companion

Ripley's Freaky Fridays
Online Classroom Companion Instructions


Thank you for joining Ripley's Freaky Fridays, an Online
Classroom Companion program designed for junior high school
science teachers. This document contains instructions for
accessing the program and suggestions for using it as a
learning tool. Please SAVE THESE INSTRUCTIONS for the
duration of the program; you will need them if you have
difficulty participating in the chats.


Ripley's Freaky Fridays will run for 10 weeks, beginning
Friday, September 17, and concluding Friday, November 19.
Each Friday we will host a guided discussion in the ePALS
Classroom Companion chatroom. The chat is a one-hour, live,
moderated program that starts at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (10
a.m. Pacific Time). Here is the schedule of topics covered
during the program:

Sept. 17 Extraordinary Explorers
Sept. 24 Unusual Universe
Oct. 1 Gee-Whiz Geology
Oct. 8 Wild Weather
Oct. 15 Marine Marvels
Oct. 22 Medical Miracles
Oct. 29 Awesome Anatomy
Nov. 5 Amazing Machines
Nov. 12 The Magnificent Mind
Nov. 19 On Human Achievement

You may attend as many or as few of the chats as you like.
However, you will receive an e-mail containing Teacher's
Guidelines every week of the program. We don't have the
capacity to allow you to register for specific weeks.
Unless you "unregister" for the remainder of the program,
you will receive the weekly Teacher's Guidelines.
Instructions on how to "unregister" are contained in each
weekly e-mail.


In a separate e-mail, you will receive the Teacher's
Guidelines for the first week of Ripley's Freaky Fridays.
That document should answer most of the questions you have
concerning the content and format of the Teacher's
Guidelines, as well as giving you a good idea of the style
and tone of the program.

Our goal is to deliver a quality learning experience that
is educational and entertaining enough to maintain a high
level of student interest. This is a learning experience
for us, too, and we welcome any suggestions you have for
improving the Teacher's Guidelines, including suggested
topics for discussion or quiz materials.


Chats are held in the ePALS Classroom Companion chatroom
every Friday beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Here are
instructions for accessing the chats:

1. IMPORTANT: Review these instructions with the media
specialist at your school. You should test your connection
to the chatroom in advance of the first chat.

2. LOGIN: You must join ePALS to participate in the chats.
When you join ePALS, you will select a username and
personal password that you will need to access the chats.
Membership is FREE and signing-up is easy at the following

3. CHAT ROOM: Once you have joined ePALS, you can access
the Classroom Companion chatroom using the URL below. If
you are not already logged into ePALS, you will be asked to
provide your username and personal password. If you are
already logged into ePALS, you will be asked to provide the
chatroom name and chatroom password.
Chatroom URL:
Chatroom Name: ClassroomCompanion
Chatroom Password: CHATNOW

4. HOW TO CHAT: Once you're in the Classroom Companion
chatroom, just start chatting. The large window at the top
of the screen displays all the conversation in the chat.
Type your own questions or comments in the small window at
the bottom of the screen and click on the "Send Message"
button when you're ready to share what you have written
with the rest of the room. The other chat features are
pretty easy to learn; go ahead and play with them -- you
won't break anything. Part of the purpose of this program
is to help teachers and students get a feel for using
collaborative software. ePALS has a great set of tools for
facilitating group work and distance learning.

5. CHAT RULES: ePALS chatrooms are safe and secure.
However, any inappropriate behavior in a chatroom will
result in "unregistration" of the offending chatter's
classroom. Inappropriate actions include many of the same
rules your school is likely to enforce.


Please make sure that you 1) join ePALS, and 2) try to
access the Classroom Companion chatroom well ahead of your
first chat. If you're having problems, contact the media
specialist in your school. If you still need help, please
call us and we'll talk you through it 504-586-9517. If you
get voicemail, then send e-mail to schedule a phone
appointment . We'll call when
you and/or your media specialist are available to walk
through the process over the phone.

Our staff will not be able to respond to requests for help
during a chat session. If you have problems with your
connection right before or during a chat, please e-mail and
we'll schedule a support session before the next chat date.


It can be difficult to handle a whole classroom if every
student has a separate connection to the chat. We highly
recommend that only ONE computer per classroom be connected
to the chat. That way, the teacher can type in questions
from the class, or let one student at a time sit at the
computer and ask a question. The instructor is in a great
position to help channel participation in the chat and use
it to generate a rewarding learning experience.

TIP: If you have the ability to project from a computer
onto a screen, it will be easier for students to observe
the chat. If you have the ability to project from a
teacher's computer onto the other computers or monitors in
the room, that will make it easier for students to observe
the chat. Contact your school's media specialist for


If you won't be able to attend one or more chats, you can
still participate in Ripley's Freaky Fridays. Here's how:

* E-MAIL YOUR QUESTIONS: Your students can send in their
questions via e-mail to . We will
ask as many of the questions as time permits.

* GET THE TRANSCRIPTS: We will attempt to keep transcripts
of each of the Ripley's Freaky Friday chat sessions and
make them available to you on the Tuesday following each
chat. To get transcripts, simply send e-mail to
and include the date of the
session(s) you'd like to have. We will e-mail the
transcripts back to you.


Here are some ideas for using the Teacher's Guide to
enhance the educational value of Ripley's Freaky Fridays.

* Read aloud, or have students read, the short excerpt from
Ripley's Believe It or Not! at the beginning of class. It
will engage students and get them thinking about the day's

* Use the Ripley Riddles for some interactive fun before,
during, or after the chat. The questions are both
educational and entertaining.

* Use the Discussion Ideas for in-class discussion, in-
class assignments, or homework assignments.

* Engage students with discussion questions or assignments
about chat software: Do they enjoy the chats? What's the
hardest part? What's the best part? Can they think of other
ways to use this tool, such as working on a class project,
or researching a paper, or hanging out with friends?


Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Published by Ripley Entertainment
ISBN 1-893951-73-1, hardcover, US$25.95, CAN$34.95
Full color throughout, 9" x 12", 256 pages, indexed
Available through this site or directly from

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a book of facts about
bizarre feats of the human, material and natural world. It
is a solid reference work of the strange but true. It shows
the world through Ripley's eyes as something that is
wonderful and weird, awesome in its variety, jaw-dropping
in its uniqueness. This book juxtaposes the quirky,
bizarre, outrageous world of people with the pure
fascination of the natural and physical world.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! boasts a spectacular cover with
eyes that follow you as you move past. The dramatic design
and typography includes innovative treatments, such as
shadows and box features that will astound you! Cartoons by
Robert Ripley himself are brought to life by their clever
positioning among full-color photographs.

Copyright (c)2004 by Ripley Entertainment. All rights