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1st

Hour of Code: Scratch Jr.

ScratchJr

ages 5-7

Free

Overview

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:

scratchjr

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Categories: 1st, Kindergarten | Tags: | Leave a comment

Dear Otto: How do I Teach Keyboarding in My Limited Class Time?

keyboardingHere’s Melanie’s question about teaching keyboarding effectively:

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.

2nd grade: This year is quite similar to the approach you use in PK-1 but you address more specific keyboarding goals–like using more fingers. It can still be easily done in your available time frame.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Keyboarding, Kindergarten | 7 Comments

33 Websites to Support Math Automaticity in K-5

math websitesHere’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:

K

1st

2nd

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Kindergarten, Math, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

16 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills

1183938_stylized_mouseI 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:

Mouse Skills

  1. Bees and Honey
  2. Mouse and tech basics–video
  3. Mouse Click Skills—gorgeous
  4. Mouse practice—drag, click
  5. Mouse skills
  6. Mouse Song
  7. Tidy the classroom
  8. Wack-a-gopher (no gophers hurt in this)

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Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Tags: | Leave a comment

3 Lesson Plans to Teach Architecture in First Grade

1st grade architectureHere’s a great lesson plan with three activities well-suited to the discussion of architecture and design in 1st grade:

Review

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.

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Categories: 1st, Lesson plans, Reviews, Science, Teacher resources, Web Tools, Websites | Tags: | 4 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for Your Classroom: Survival Kits

tech is easyI 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

Overview

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:

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, AATT Classroom Materials, Reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

6 Sites + 12 + 6 About Coin Counting

Second graders (sometimes first graders) learn about money. The only way to really ‘get it’ is repetition. Here’s a list of websites to provide redundancy for each type of learner:

  1. Coin Counting
  2. Counting Money
  3. Money—counting
  4. Piggy Bank
  5. H.I.P. Pocket Change
  6. Cash Out

For a longer list that includes concepts like ‘economics’, try these:

Coins and Counting Money

  1. Brain Pop Learn about Money
  2. Cashtivity
  3. Coin games—from US Mint
  4. Count Money
  5. Face on money
  6. Face on money–from Lunapic; lots of options
  7. Make change
  8. Money—counting
  9. Moneyville
  10. Money Flashcards–APlus Math
  11. Mr. Bouncy’s Money collection–lots of websites
  12. US Mint virtual tour (a slideshow)

Economics–for youngers

  1. Brain Pop Learn about Money
  2. Coffee Shop Game
  3. Rich Kid Smart Kid
  4. Spent–living at minimum wage: the game
  5. Three Jars–kids learn to use money wisely
  6. Tykoon Kid–earning with a purpose

Do you have any to add to this list? These are mostly for youngers–I’d love some for older age groups. (more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, Economics, Reviews, Websites | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Keyboard Curriculum

Overview

K-8 Keyboard Curriculum (four options plus one)–teacher handbook, student workbooks, companion videos–and help for homeschoolers

2-Volume Ultimate Guide to Keyboardingkeyboarding

K-5 (237 pages) and Middle School (80 pages), 100 images, 7 assessments

K-5–print/digital; Middle School–digital delivery only

Aligned with Student workbooks and student videos (free with licensed set of student workbooks)

Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos

__________________________________________________________________________

1-Volume Essential Guide to K-8 KeyboardingEssential Guide--KB Curriculum cover--small size

120 pages, dozens of images, 6 assessments

Great value!

Delivered print or digital

Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, AATT Classroom Materials, Keyboarding | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Tech Curriculum

tech curriculumI 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.

The first review: the K-8 Technology Curriculum

Overview

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 130 and 260 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, 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, community service with tech.

Topics include keyboarding, digital citizenship, problem solving, domain-specific vocabulary, webtools, visual learning, and more.

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.

K-8 includes 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, and more.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, AATT Classroom Materials, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

3 Apps That Encourage Students to Read

readingReading is defined as “the action or skill of absorbing written or printed matter silently or aloud.” Sounds dry, maybe even boring, but once a child learns to read, they get much more than an understanding of words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. It has been credited with providing an escape from reality, exercising the mind, saving lives, bringing people together, answering problems, and predicting success in school. It alleviates boredom in the bits of free time that pop up between soccer and dinner and it can be done alone or in a group.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends…”
― Charles William Eliot

According to Early Moments, reading is associated with the following traits:

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Reading | Tags: | 3 Comments