The Potomac Highlands Watershed School

eForum Teacher Information & Updates

If you have any problems, Frank Rodgers (CI's Education/Outreach Director) can  be reached at home after hours at 304-258-7657.


Upcoming eForum: Oh Deer! Environmental Forum, Monday, October 12 to Friday, November 20, 2009


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Oh Deer! Forum Section Worksheets

Our Challenge

It's Your eForum too - Teacher Suggestions.

Please ask students to take the survey before they begin.

Why we ask for Control Codes on forms

Crafting the Perfect POV.

When the eForums conclude . . .

Thoughtful Questions Form - Getting it Right.

eForum Lesson Plan (you can also reach lesson plans through the Teacher's Room)

Teacher Tips

Hands-on Projects


OH Deer! eForum 2009 emails.


Oh Deer! Forum Section Worksheets - PDF format

Section Worksheet Student Answer Sheet
Section 1-3: Welcome and Introduction Section 1-3 Section 1-3
Section 4: General Background Section 4 Section 4
Section 5: Problems Section 5 Section 5
Section 6: Solutions Section 6 rev 10/21 Section 6 rev 10/21
Note: Teacher Answer Keys will be emailed directly to teachers.


Our challenge.  Cacapon Institute's challenge in conducting Environmental Forums and other Potomac Highlands Watershed School activities is to provide a setting where the content is highly relevant to the required curriculum, where everything a teacher needs can be readily found, and where everything works.  Making everything work can be more difficult than it appears, because every school system installs filters on their computer networks to both prevent students from accessing inappropriate material, and to prevent harm to their computer system from accidental downloading of malicious software (viruses, spyware,  malware, etc.).  Because every school system, possibly even every school, does this differently, it is our challenge to develop content and processes that work everywhere.  For example, we do not have a required "user name/password" system (the flash activities have a "visitor's" bypass), we do not post streaming video (although we would love to), and we take care that eForum activities do not "feel" like a chat room to school filters that would then kick them off.


How subtle can the problems be?  Pretty subtle.  For example, the original file names for our Flash activities (like Stream Cleaner) included the word "game."  Some systems (one in a Missouri library, one in a WV school system) had filters that automatically kicked a user who tried to access these activities off  the web because of the word "game" in the file name.  We learned of the problem because people told us about it.


If you need something that you can't find, or if something doesn't work for you, we won't know unless you tell us.  So, please, let us know – and we will do everything in our power to fix it. 



It's Your eForum too - Teacher Suggestions.   We really encourage participating teachers to share their experiences and offer suggestions. We do listen, and make every effort to respond in a substantive manner. After all, this is your eForum as much as it is CI's.  Some examples of teacher comments helping shape the eForums:

  • Laura Picard (Jefferson High, WV) commented that the SCE Forum was a bit intimidating for her students because it is “VERY text heavy.”  Laura suggested it might “be easier to have more bookshelves which open to…small chunks of content”. In response, we added a graphic “book shelf” with clickable links to act as both a navigational aid and to help visually break up the text into "chapters."  The bookshelf is repeated at the bottom of every section, and also includes "books" that take you to the POV posting area, and to the eForum Vocabulary. The lessons themselves have not changed, and the main content remains on the eForum's home page to avoid having students get lost in a maze of links.

  • Sectional worksheets were added in 2009 at the request of Brooke Swecker Martin from Turner Ashby High (VA).  They were modeled after worksheets prepared by yet another teacher, Laura O'Leary (North Hartford High, MD) for 2008's Oh Deer! eForum.

  • Long-time particpating teacher Bill Moore (Hampshire High, WV) developed a new method for developing consensus that was added to the Teacher's Tip's page .  

These are instances where participating teachers have provided suggestions and examples of how they use the eForums that have made a material difference in the quality of the experience.


Please ask students to take the survey before they begin.  The teacher code is optional, but we strongly encourage their use.  You may assign a different code as an identifier if you have multiple classes participating.


Why we ask for the "Control Code" on forms?   Control Codes are assigned by teachers, not CI.  We do this to prevent mischief by students and by "unauthorized" users.  The potential for mischief is vast, and one of our jobs is to make sure that none of it makes its way to your school computer screens.  For example, the control code should help deter any temptation students might have to toy with the survey (for example sign on as a different school and answer all the questions “wrong”). "  We also read every submittal before manually posting it on the website.  With numerous classes participating, that will keep us plenty busy during the Thoughtful Questions period. 


Crafting the Perfect POV.  POVs should be crisp, concise, and persuasive.  The optimum length for a POV is from 250 to 600 words. Too short and it cannot adequately cover the material it needs to address.  Too long and it frightens other students away - and the dialogue suffers. 


When the eForums conclude, we'll ask participating teachers to fill out a short survey to help us know what went right, what could use improvement, and how the experience impacted your view of the use of computers in the classroom.  We'll also schedule a time for a conference call where we can all just informally talk about it.   For example, a conference call following our 2006 Oh Deer! eForum led to a number of significant changes to the time frame and to the POV page format.   


Thoughtful Questions Form.  We simplified the Thoughtful Questions form in November 2007.   However, it is a very good idea for teachers to run through it with their students one time - there are six steps and they need to get them right.    In particular:

  • Step 2, "to" - this is who they are addressing their question or response or statement to - it is not them.

  • Step 3, "from" - this is always the group that is writing the TQ.

  • Step 4 – Type of TQ is usually self-explanatory, but seems to cause difficulties.   Please review the three choices with your students.  A question is directed to someone else's POV.  A response is an answer to a question about their own POV even if their response contains a question.  For example the response is;  “Thanks for your question.  What do you think we should do?”.  Grammatically that ends in a question but would be considered a response.  A statement, including rhetorical questions, is an opportunity to express support, or critique and can be addressed to a whole stakeholder group or to an individual POV.


Hands-on Projects.  For schools in D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia the SCE Forum, coupled with a hands-on activity, meets the Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) requirement.  We can also support Oh Deer! related projects if they have a watershed component.  The eForums also help meet 21st Century Learning guidelines.  We offer technical and material resources to help participating schools continue the eForum lessons by implementing their own watershed stewardship project, projects like these.  Classes might plant a riparian buffer, establish a watershed friendly schoolyard management plan, control erosion, or do any number of best management practices (BMP).  Schools don’t need to be near a stream - terrestrial projects like controlling rooftop and parking lot runoff are also watershed BMPs.  Education and community outreach are important BMPs too, so, if a class produces posters or flyers we can help with costs and materials. 


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Oh Deer! Teachers,

In two weeks the dialogue opens for the 2009 Oh Deer! eForum.  Welcome and welcome back to some.

Returning teachers, notice the submission arrangement has changed.  Due to concerns that students who post POV's later receive less Thoughtful Questions, we are accepting POVs for a full two weeks before posting TQs.   Click on the "Welcome" book in the eForum to see the new schedule in a timeline.

We will accept, but not post POVs during the first week.  During the second week we will post new POVs nightly.  We will not post POVs received after Friday, October 23rd (unless we receive a special teacher request).  Please emphasize to students the dialogue is NOT live.  They will NOT immediately see their Point Of View papers appear (we receive multiple, repeat
submission, every year from some no-doubt frustrated students).  They will know their POV was successfully received by us when a "Congratulations!" webpage appears.

Don't wait till October 12th to start.  Take the survey first thing (you make up the teacher code to assign to students).  The lessons are available now by clicking on the eForum Phone at  If your class comes upon a good piece of news or information while researching please let us know.  We're happy to post interesting updates and worthwhile student research to Oh Deer! 

We're also happy to update our Google Map in the Welcome section to add a photo of your class or school and/or additional information (click on your "school" in the map to see what we have posted).


Frank Rodgers
Director of Education & Outreach
304-856-1385  (Evenings 304-258-7657)



Sorry for a second email in such a short period of time, but I wanted to make you aware of three resources to help you make the best use of the forum: section worksheets, the eForum Updates page, and a video providing an overview of the forums.

Worksheets were added to the SCE Forum last spring at the request of a Virginia teacher.  Those worksheets were intended to help students focus on key information (at least information CI considers particularly important),  not restrict the range of any student research.  I just uploaded section worksheets to the Oh Deer! eForum.

For your students, the worksheets are a click away as html popups from the eForum's main page, directly under section headings.

For teachers, we have PDF versions of these worksheets and answer sheets for your students (if you wish to use them) downloadable from the eForum lesson plan, and also posted to the eForum Updates page.   We'll email answer keys
to you shortly.

The eForum Updates page is reached by clicking on the link on the  back wall of the Teacher's Room (  This page includes topical information, as well as copies of all email
communications we send during the active forum.

Frank produced a 6-minute, video overview of the eForum process.  You can find it embedded in the eForum Lesson Plan, and also at the top of the eForum Information and Signup Page.   For new teachers, this might help you get oriented.  It might also be useful to show this to your class.

As always, your suggestions regarding any or all of these tools are welcome.  Every year, teacher input - such as the worksheet idea - helps make the forums better.





Oh Deer! Teachers,

We look forward to everyone's participation and are pleased to see students doing the surveys before beginning the Oh Deer! lessons (teachers make up and assign the code for their own class).

Four important reminders as students begin submitting Point Of Views. 
1.  POVs are submitted as a TEAM.  We recommend four to six students per stakeholder team.  We do not have the organizational capacity to accommodate hundreds of individual POVs.  (One of the most popular teacher suggestions
is to have each student draft their personal POV.  These can be use for grading and to assign students to a group where they aggregate individual POVs into a stakeholder team POV.)
2.  SUBMIT ONLY ONCE.  Entries are moderated so their Point Of View and Thoughtful Questions will NOT  appear till the next day at the earliest (not till Monday 10/19 for the first week's POVs). 
3. They will only have ONE CHANCE to submit their stakeholder team name, no changes will be possible.  It will show exactly as they type it in the form.

4. Student names will NOT be allowed (e.g.  The John, Ringo, Paul, and George Singers would be changed to "The JRPG Singers".)

To encourage original thought we disabled the archive links to previous Oh Deer!  FYI, here are the links if you would like to share your previous classes' performance or see how a completed dialogue looks.

For more teacher tips please see




Subject: Oh Deer! eForum 2009 Thoughtful Questions
Importance: High

The Thoughtful Question forum will be open Monday (10/26).

Please, please, read these rules with your students before they start on Thoughtful Questions.  We expect hundreds of TQs so we need your help in controlling the submission process.  First, TQs are a stakeholder team process; individual students are discouraged from sending in TQs.  A team might assign individuals to "cover a beat", that is one watches the farmers,
another watches the hunters, etc.  They should all suggest ideas but ultimately their team's TQs should come from a pool of ideas.

There are six steps they MUST get correct for us to post their TQ.

Step 1.  "Enter your class Control Code:"  Created and assigned by the teacher.

Step 2.  "TO":  This information is the key to where their comment will appear on the eForum webpage.  Students should think of it as a mailing address; if it is wrong their comment will be undeliverable or appear in the wrong place.  Students should choose a stakeholder group name from a dropdown list that corresponds with the group they are addressing.  Unbelievably, some students choose their own name for "to".  In that case their TQ (intended for someone else) appears under their own stakeholder Point Of View.

Step 3. "FROM" :  Students should pick their own name from a dropdown list.  This is ALWAYS their own stakeholder name.  The "from" stakeholder name must match up with the teacher's control code.  If students from one class (as identified by the control code) pick a stakeholder group name from another class, they may be spoofing another group and misrepresenting themselves and their TQ may be discarded.

Step 4 .  "Pick one":  The type of TQ is EXTREMELY important because it, along with the to/from allows us to properly place the TQ on the eForum webpage.  "Questions" and "Statement" TQs will appear under the "to" stakeholder's POV.  "Response" will appear under the "from" stakeholder's POV.  Incorrectly identifying their TQ causes major delays and may cause their TQ to be discarded or appear in the wrong place on the eForum webpage.

  a.. "Question" indicates they are engaging another stakeholder group for more information, clarification, or a challenge. 
  b.. "Response" indicates they are answering a question put to THEIR own stakeholder group.  If they choose "respond" the TQ will appear under the "from" stakeholder (their own) POV.  Even if their answer grammatically includes a question it is a NOT a "question"; for example, "Thanks for your question.  What do you think we should do?" is a response.  It is incorrect to choose "respond" when addressing someone else's POV (i.e. it is WRONG to think "We should respond to that POV").  In short, response is only used to answer a question put to their OWN team.
  c.. "Statement" indicates they are commenting on someone else's POV.   Statements will appear under the "to" stakeholder group's POV.  Statements, including rhetorical questions, are an opportunity to express support, or critique, individual POVs or address an entire group of stakeholders (i.e. farmers, hunters, forester, etc). 

These rules can be found by clicking on eForum Updates at



Oh Deer! Teachers,

As we see each year, contraception is a hot topic.  While Cacapon Institute does not take a position on his work; we want to make you aware of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick.  He does not contend that contraception alone can solve the deer population problem; but, he was so frustrated by the outright rejection of contraception as a tool that he did a lecture tour of PA in 2008 sponsored by the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics.  It is his opinion that; "There have been many other deer contraceptive projects, conducted by other government agencies (USDA) and academic institutions and proprietary companies, but none have been conducted longitudinally, over long periods of time, and at the population level."  He speaks as a scientific stakeholder calling for more study.

A letter from Dr. Kirkpatrick replying to Jerry Feaser, Press Secretary of the PA Game Commission is available at: 
From PA Game:  "the choice is clear: hunting costs communities nothing, and is the best option when compared to an unproven, experimental procedure that is cost prohibitive" From Dr. Kirkpatrick:  "Mr. Feaser's letter is a masterpiece of hyperbole,
misinformation and dissembling. First, he makes no distinction between urban/suburban deer and rural deer and the contraceptive technology, which was developed only for deer herds where traditional management methods are not deemed legal, wise, safe or publicly acceptable. The failure to make this clear at the outset pits the hunting community against the broad concept of management by contraception."

An interesting, and entertaining, read that is right on point in a discussion of understanding stakeholders is his article "Urban deer
contraception: the seven stages of grief"
(784KB, PDF) (The Wildlife Society Bulletin 1997) where he describes his experiences with town hall meetings.

If you can access YouTube, a 10 minute video of his lecture in Pittsburg: 
A 3-1/2 minute short of the same: 



Oh Deer! Teachers,


We’re in the final week of Thoughtful Questions.  Over the weekend we posted questions to all POVs that had not received feedback from other students.  That is a first for us; in the past we left all the dialogue to the students with few exceptions.  We made an exception this year because we wanted to be sure the Kemp Landing 6th graders had an opportunity for dialogue.  This week, please have students take a final look under their own POV to be sure they have answer all questions and/or addressed statements to them.  Today and tomorrow are the last days for new questions.  From the 18th on the TQ form will remain available for students to make closing statements and respond to questions put to their team.


Classroom consensus papers are welcome any time via email.  We also welcome individual student comments about the process or narratives about how the class handled Oh Deer! (likes, dislikes, etc.).


Please finish with the students taking the Pre/Post Survey again.




Frank Rodgers



As we enter the final, and most difficult, Classroom Consensus phase of the
2009 Oh Deer! eForum we what to recognize the insightful POVs.  Please
express our appreciation to the students for their POVs and the many
excellent questions and statements. The strong point of views, and the
lively questions, suggest that the Classroom Consensus process will be
equally lively, and we look forward to your outcomes.

Over the years teachers have shared how they managed this phase so we are
able to offer four methods of approaching Classroom Consensus:  The Fish
Bowl, Post A POV, The Big Election, and a Survey Based approach.  (Click on
the eForum Updates in the Teachers' Lounge or follow this link
( ).

Please share your experience with us.  If any students want to produce a
short film of the class in action (~5 min.), we will do our best to post the
video as a reference for future classes.  We have a growing library of short
films at on our Projects Page. 

Don't forget, thanks to NOAA, Virginia Environmental Endowment, U.S. EPA,
the National Fish and Wildlife and MARPAT Foundations, and our members'
support, Cacapon Institute has material and technical resource available for
hands-on follow up project based on Oh Deer! (e.g. a bumper sticker safe
driving contest, forest study, reforestation or forest protection education
package, tree planting, etc.)  Email us with ideas and we may be able to
supply funding or materials.  We invite you to see what other classes have
done on our Hands-On Projects webpage (click on the Projects blue print in
the e-classroom or go to: )

In order to justify the cost of developing, maintaining, and moderating the
eForums, it is important for us to know how you used the eForum in your
class to teach required curriculum, to know what standards it covered, and
to have feedback on how it worked for you. Participating teachers have
always been our partners in making our offerings more effective, and we
encourage any comments, positive and negative, that you wish to offer.



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Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.