Happy Thanksgiving Week

thanksgivingI’m taking next week off. I’ll be preparing for my daughter’s holiday visit from her home in DC and my son who’s visiting from El Paso TX (Ft. Bliss). I am so excited to see both of them!

I’ll be back December 1st. Any emergencies–drop me a line at askatechteacher@gmail.com.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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Hour of Code Activity: Build a Website

As a tech teacher, I see a lot of student websites. I’m always impressed with the effort, the tenacity, and often the skill, but most require ‘some additional work’ to be published.

And then I got an email from Stephen Byrne. In his quest to better learn history, he blended it with his love of of programming and built a website. It’s called History for Kids. It is exceptional, not only for its clean, intuitive presentation, but it’s age-appropriate language. If your students struggle finding research websites that use words at their grade level, suggest they build their own site like Stephen did:

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Hour of Code: 3DTin

I don’t hear a lot of buzz about 3DTin, but I should. It’s a well-kept secret your 5th grade and up will love.

3dtin

Age:

3rd-8th

Topic:

modeling, programming

Address:

3DTin

Review:

Google’s 3DTin is 3D modeling in a browser. It goes out of its way to be user-friendly. It requires no installation as long as you browse in Google Chrome or Firefox with WebGL support. Just type 3dtin.com in address bar and start designing. Any operating system. All of its functionality is free. … as long as the sketch is shared under Creative Commons. On the right sidebar is a running list (with Browse command) to view what others have created in 3DTin.

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K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level

Here are ideas of apps and websites that teachers in my PLN used successfully in the past during Hour of Code:

hour of codeKindergarten

Start kindergartners with problem solving. If they love Legos, they’ll love coding

  1. BotLogic–great for Kindergarten and youngers
  2. Code–learn to code, for students
  3. Daisy the Dinosaur—intro to programming via iPad
  4. How to train your robot–a lesson plan from Dr. Techniko
  5. Kindergarten coding
  6. Kodable--great for youngers–learn to code before you can read
  7. Move the Turtle–programming via iPad for middle schoolhour of code
  8. Primo–a wooden game, for ages 4-7
  9. Program a human robot (unplugged)
  10. Scratch Jr.

1st Grade

  1. Code–learn to code, for students
  2. Espresso Coding–for youngers
  3. Hopscotch–programming on the iPad
  4. Primo–a wooden game, for ages 4-7
  5. Scratch Jr.
  6. Tynkerhour of code

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Hour of Code–the Series

December 8-14, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. They provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that say “anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone”. They even have unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.

Here’s a video to kick things off–you can’t watch this and not get motivated:

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Edublog Nominee

eddiesThe 2014 Edublog Awards is a community based initiative started in 2004 in response to concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access to educational blog sites. The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these. Once a year, about this time of year, we bloggers get ten days to nominate our favorites in categories that include:

  • Individual Blog
  • Group Blog
  • New Blog
  • Class Blog
  • Student Blog
  • EdTech Blog
  • Teacher Blog
  • Library/Librarian Blog
  • Administrator Blog
  • Influential Post
  • Individual Tweeter
  • Twitter Hashtag
  • Free Web Tool
  • Video/Podcasts
  • Educational Wiki
  • Best Open PD
  • Social Network
  • Mobile App
  • Lifetime Achievement

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32 Reading Websites

readingThese cover elementary school through high school (sites like Open Library and Gutenberg Press where students can get free copies of books they need for class):

Read Stories

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Edutainment games and stories
  7. Fables—Aesop—nicely done
  8. Fables–beautiful
  9. Fairy Tales and Fables
  10. Project Gutenberg
  11. Interactive storybook collection
  12. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  13. Magic Keys–stories for youngers
  14. Mighty Book
  15. Open Library
  16. PBS Stories–Between the Lions
  17. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  18. Signed stories
  19. Starfall
  20. Stories read by actors
  21. Stories to read
  22. Stories to read from PBS kids
  23. Stories to read–II
  24. Stories to read—International Library
  25. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  26. Stories—Signed
  27. Story Scramble
  28. Story time–visual
  29. Storytime for me
  30. Teach your monster to read (free)
  31. Tumblebooks (fee)
  32. Ziggity Zoom Stories

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The Power of Symbols–What does ‘Turkey’ mean?

Here’s an authentic use of technology to support discussion on math, language standards, and the holidays. As a summation to your discussion with students on symbols, idiomatic expressions, geography, farms, or another topic, post this on your Smartscreen. The poll includes lots of definitions for the word ‘turkey’–from objective to idiomatic. Have each student come up some time during the day (or class) and make their choice.

Did your students come up with other definitions I didn’t list?

More on Thanksgiving:

18 Thanksgiving Sites For Your Students

A Holiday Flier in Publisher

16 Holiday Projects


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out next summer.

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Today we Honor Veterans

In the USA, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day.






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How Do You Grade Tech? I Have 14 Ideas

gradesIt used to be simple to post grades. Add up test scores and see what the student earned. Very defensible. Everyone understood.

It’s not that way anymore. Now we’re looking for understanding, transfer of knowledge, scaffolding for future learning, habits of mind, depth of knowledge, and a general preparedness for college and/or career. Here are factors I consider when I’m determining grades:

  • Does s/he remember skills from prior lessons as they complete current lessons?
  • Does s/he show evidence of learning by using tech class knowledge in classroom or home?
  • Does s/he participate in class discussions?
  • Does s/he complete daily goals (a project, visit a website, watch a tutorial, etc.)?
  • Does s/he save to their digital portfolio?

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