I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found, are well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
The first review: the K-8 Technology Curriculum
The K-8 Technology Curriculum is Common Core and ISTE aligned, and outlines what should be taught when so students have the necessary scaffolding to use tech in the pursuit of grade level state standards and school curriculum.
Each book is between 212 and 252 pages and includes lesson plans, assessments, domain-specific vocabulary, problem solving tips, Big Idea, Essential Question, options if primary tech tools not available, posters, reproducibles, samples, tips, enrichments, entry and exit tickets, and teacher preparation. Lessons build on each other kindergarten through 5th grade. For Middle School, they are designed for the grading period time frame typical of those grade levels, with topics like programming, robotics, and community service with tech.
Most (all) grade levels include base topics of keyboarding, digital citizenship, problem solving, digital tools for the classroom, and coding.
Included are optional student workbooks (sold separately) that allow students to be self-paced, responsible for their own learning. They include required weblinks, rubrics, exemplars, weekly lessons, full-color images, and more.
Grades K-5 has a FREE companion wiki with FREE webinars on how to teach each lesson throughout the year and takes questions from anyone who has the curriculum. It’s used worldwide by public and private schools and homeschoolers.
Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s March 31st. Here are some websites your students will love:
- Easter color-me (for Kindergarten/first grade)
- Easter Color Me to print or import to drawing program
- Easter games II
- Easter games III
- Easter games IV
- Easter poems and songs (to play online)
- Easter Puppies–video
- Easter puzzles and games
- Easter songs for kids
- Easter story--the Easter Egg–video
- Easter Word hunt (Starfall)
Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss.
Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:
- Aesop Fables—no ads
- Aesop’s Fables
- Audio stories
- Childhood Stories
- Classic Fairy Tales
- Fairy Tales and Fables
- Interactive storybook collection
- Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
- Magic Keys–stories for youngers
- Mighty Book
- PBS Stories–Between the Lions
- Signed stories
- Stories read by actors
- Stories to read for youngsters
- Stories to read from PBS kids
- Stories to read–II
- Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
- Story Scramble
- Storytime for me
- Teach your monster to read (free)
- Ziggity Zoom Stories
ScratchJr (released July 2014) is an introductory programming language for ages 5-7 similar to the wildly popular Scratch (for 3rd grade and up). ScratchJr adjusts Scratch’s interface and programming language to make it developmentally appropriate for pre-readers with features that match young children’s cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development. For example, optional video directions are all visual–no reading required. No voice even!
ScratchJr treats programming (a term that frightens even adults) as simply a creative way to communicate–another language. Start by opening the app:
Last year, I did a poll on the meaning of the word ‘turkey’. This was to demonstrate how powerful symbols are to your students and do so with 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’. Have each student come up some time during the day (or class) and make their choice.
My problem is that I only see each group of students (PK – 4th grade) once a week for 30min. I see 1st and 2nd grade two times a week. How do I successfully teach keyboarding AND my regular tech curriculum with next to no time to do both? I’ve thought about doing keyboarding for the first half of the year and then my curriculum the next half.. but I’m just not sure.
I often get a version of this question–how can students learn to keyboard when there’s so little time allotted to teaching it? Surprisingly, it’s not as difficult as it sounds when you use a scaffolded approach. Start with pre-keyboarding in Kindergarten and first grade, move to good keyboarding habits that encourage speed and accuracy, and then blend it all into grade-level inquiry.
Here’s my answer:
PK, K, 1 are all about pre-keyboarding skills. Students need to understand the purpose of a keyboard, the mouse, tools and toolbars, basic digital citizenship safety, rudimentary problem solving. That can be done within the timeframe you’ve indicated. In fact, I lay it out in the K-1 curriculum that I publish. It’s easier than it sounds: Know what grade-level inquiry you can support and weave the tech skills into those.
Here’s along list of websites that focus on math automaticity for the K-5 classroom. I’ve broken it down by grade level, but you can decide if your second graders are precocious enough to try the websites for grades 3-5:
I repost this article every September because I get so many requests for mouse resources for those youngest keyboarders. Enjoy!
One of the most important pre-keyboarding skills is how to use the mouse. The mouse hold is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break. Here are some images to assist you in setting up your newest computer aficionados:
Here are 16 websites student will enjoy, including 4 for adults new to computers:
- Bees and Honey
- Mouse and tech basics–video
- Mouse practice—drag, click
- Mouse skills
- Mouse Song
- Wack-a-gopher (no gophers hurt in this)
Students complete three projects in two weeks to aid understanding of architecture, design, and three-dimensional thinking. They’ll experiment with spatially laying out a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional paper. When completed, they’ll discuss with neighbors while practicing good listening skills learned in class.
Start with a discussion of design. This includes size, shape, texture, proportion, scale, mass and color. We will apply these to rooms, buildings, and neighborhoods. Encourage students to think and analyze critically as they engage in learning.
In figures below, ask students which are two- or three-dimensions? How do they know?[gallery ids="50170,50171,50172,50173,50164"]
Design the Classroom
Visit Classroom Architect and demo how to design the classroom with drag-and-drop pieces (see figures below). Take suggestions from class on layout. Students must think about where tables and storage are relative to other items. This is an active learning lesson that encourages visual thinking. Develop a sample based on class input and show how to make corrections if necessary.
I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.
Today: Tech Survival Kits
Tech Survival Kits put everything a teacher needs to tech-ify their classroom into one package. This includes books, ebooks, articles, webinars, mentoring, and more. By purchasing as a Kit, you get a 10% discount on the included materials.
There are five Survival Kits. The specific resources depend upon your need: