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1st

Read Across America Day

stone-figure-10542_640Many 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:

  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. Interactive storybook collection
  11. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  12. Magic Keys–stories for youngers
  13. Mighty Book
  14. Open Library
  15. PBS Stories–Between the Lions
  16. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  17. Signed stories
  18. Starfall
  19. Stories read by actors
  20. Stories to read
  21. Stories to read for youngsters
  22. Stories to read from PBS kids
  23. Stories to read–II
  24. Stories to read—International Library
  25. Stories—CircleTime—international
  26. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  27. Stories—non-text
  28. Stories—Signed
  29. Story Scramble
  30. Story time–visual
  31. Storytime for me
  32. Teach your monster to read (free)
  33. Tumblebooks (fee)
  34. Ziggity Zoom Stories

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, holidays, reading, websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

Weekend Websites: Mouse Skills

Here are some of my favorite websites to teach mouse skills to kindergarten and 1st grade. It’s from my collection and is constantly updated here:

  1. Bees and Honey1183938_stylized_mouse
  2. Click the square
  3. Jigsaw puzzles
  4. Jigzone–puzzles
  5. K-1 mouse practice
  6. More Mouse Skills
  7. Mouse and tech basics–video
  8. Mouse Click Skills—gorgeous
  9. Mouse exercises–for olders too
  10. Mouse movement–bomono
  11. Mouse practice
  12. Mouse practice—drag, click
  13. Mouse skills
  14. Mouse Song
  15. Mouse Use Video
  16. Mouse—Tidy the Classroom
  17. Mouse—Wack a Gopher
  18. Mousing around
  19. Tidy the classroom
  20. Wack-a-gopher (no gophers hurt in this)

(more…)

Categories: 1st, kindergarten, mouse skills | Tags: | Leave a comment

Dear Otto: How do I grade technology in my school?

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Barbara, a principal at a local school:

Dear Otto,
May I ask your thoughts on giving grades in Computer Class? I can’t find research on this topic.

..

There isn’t a lot of research on the topic of grading tech classes. Anecdotally, it seems to be all over the board–whether teachers grade or not, and if they do–how. The short answer to this question is: It depends upon your expectations of the tech class. If it’s fully integrated into the classroom, treated more as a tool than a ‘special’ class (some call them ‘exploratories’, akin to PE, Spanish, music), then you probably want to hold it rigorously to the grading scale used in the classroom. The projects created will be evidence of learning, more like summative (or formative) assessments of academic work than tech skills.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, Dear Otto, education reform, teacher resources | Tags: | 2 Comments

New to technology? Follow my classes

[caption id="attachment_9359" align="alignright" width="301"]class wiki My daily class activities[/caption]

Each week of the school year, I post what I’m teaching on a grade-specific wiki. It tells viewers what lesson I’m teaching in the SL K-5 curriculum(sorry, this isn’t available for 6th-8th grade) and how I blend the authentic tasks, essential questions, big ideas, and student-centered projects into my class. I also include add-on lessons sparked by the skills learned in the curriculum, student resources, parent resources, favorite links, and whatever extras helped students provide evidence of learning in this particular week. Through the Discussion tab, wiki members can ask questions as they prepare for their students.

Here are the links to my wikis, by grade level:

They’re private, so to view the material requires a log-in. Why?

  • I want you to be comfortable asking questions
  • I want you to be able to chat with others who are also following the SL technology curriculum, see how they address prickly parts

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, classroom management | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Weekend Website 40: NORAD Santa

It’s the time of year when inquiring young minds want to know–Where’s Santa? Here’s a great website to answer that question.

[caption id="attachment_4169" align="aligncenter" width="614"]santa site Track Santa on Xmas Eve[/caption]

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Categories: 1st, 2nd | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

10 Ways Any Teacher Can (and Should) Use Technology

thanksgivingCommon Core notes:

New technologies have broadened and expanded the role that speaking and listening play in acquiring and sharing knowledge and have tightened their link to other forms of communication. Digital texts confront students with the potential for continually updated content and dynamically changing combinations of words, graphics, images, hyperlinks, and embedded video and audio.

The underlying theme can’t be ignored by teachers any longer: A 21st Century learner requires technologic proficiency. Proof enough is that Common Core summative assessments will be completed online—only possible if students use technology as comfortably as paper and pencil to demonstrate knowledge.

But how do you do that if you aren’t a ‘techie’, a ‘geek’, if you barely use a Smartphone much less the myriad of online tools. I have ten strategies that will make your teaching life easier, bump up your effectiveness with students, and save time complying with Common Core standards. Try these ten tech uses. Watch what a difference they make:

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, classroom management | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Common Core Language: Teach Your Students to Speak Like a Geek

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Language Strand. This covers K-8, 87 Standards, and has 8 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print to out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

Why is appropriate vocabulary essential to academic success?

Lesson Summary

Students teach each other domain-specific words through presentations. This reinforces vocabulary, as well as presentation skills.

By the end of this unit, 3rd-middle school students will review up to 7 L, 4 SL, and 1 WHST, as well as authentically use and review Tier 3 vocabulary (or optionally, Tier 2).

Big Ideas

  • Words are beautiful.
  • Knowing Tier 3 vocabulary helps students understand the subject.

Materials

Internet, Speak Like a Geek assessments, Speak Like a Geek sign-ups

Teacher Preparation

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, Geeks, lesson plans | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Common Core Language: Teach Your Students to Speak Like a Geek

common coreHere’s a free lesson plan from the newest Ask a Tech Teacher book, How to Achieve Common Core with Tech–the Language Strand. This covers K-8, 87 Standards, and has 8 projects.

BTW, the lines at the front of each step are to check off the skill–track progress in case you don’t complete it in one class period. Feel free to print to out for your classroom use:

Essential Question

Why is appropriate vocabulary essential to academic success?

Lesson Summary

Students teach each other domain-specific words through presentations. This reinforces vocabulary, as well as presentation skills.

By the end of this unit, 3rd-middle school students will review up to 7 L, 4 SL, and 1 WHST, as well as authentically use and review Tier 3 vocabulary (or optionally, Tier 2).

Big Ideas

  • Words are beautiful.
  • Knowing Tier 3 vocabulary helps students understand the subject.

Materials

Internet, Speak Like a Geek assessments, Speak Like a Geek sign-ups

Teacher Preparation

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, lesson plans | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Freebies #19: My Bookcover in KidPix

This year more than any before, classroom budgets have been cut making it more difficult than ever to equip the education of our children with quality teaching materials. I understand that. I teach K-8. Because of that, I’ve decided to give the lesson plans my publisher sells in the Technology Toolkit (110 Lesson Plans that I use in my classroom to integrate technology into core units of inquiry while insuring a fun, age-appropriate, developmentally-appropriate experience for students) for FREE. To be sure you don’t miss any of these:

…and start each week off with a fully-adaptable K-8 lesson that includes step-by-step directions as well as relevant ISTE national standards, tie-ins, extensions, troubleshooting and more. Eventually, you’ll get the entire Technology Toolkit book. If you can’t wait, you can purchase the curriculum here.

I love giving my material away for free. Thankfully, I have a publisher who supports that. If everyone did, we would reach true equity in international education.

My Bookcover in KidPix

Draw a cover for a classroom project or unit of inquiry or use one of Kidpix’s templates. Have students nicely mix text and pictures for an attractive design. Introduce KidPix fonts, font sizes, font colors to grade 1

[caption id="attachment_5424" align="aligncenter" width="577"]KidPix cover page Make a cover page in KidPix[/caption]

–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in 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, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

 

Categories: 1st, 2nd, Freebies/Discounts, kidpix | Tags: | Leave a comment

What You Need to Know about Kidproofing the Internet

internet safetyHow to keep their children safe online is a constant question from parents at my school. They ask about firewalls, filters, kidsafe desktops, nannycams. Should they keep their children away from computers or just off the internet? Do they have to sit with them while they work?

No. No. and No. What parents need to do is teach children to take care of themselves while visiting this vast, anonymous, addictive neighborhood called ‘the internet’. Just as they come to understand that they stay at your side in large busy stores, that they don’t talk to strangers, that they don’t open the door to people they don’t know, they will learn to be safe in the digital world. Because it’s part of our genome–to do what keeps us safe.

While they’re getting to that epiphany, here are some ideas you can employ:

  1. Teach your children how to use the internet. They are digital citizens. They have rights and responsibilities. Just as in their neighborhood, they must learn to do it right. They aren’t born with that knowledge. Teach them to avoid ads, about online relationships, tell them again, and again. Sooner than you think, they will own it. Just as they don’t cross the street without looking both ways, they won’t cross the ‘digital street’ unless it’s safe.
  2. Discuss with your child what they can and cannot do online. Discuss why. Help them to understand. They feel invincible. You want them to feel safe, but able to take care of themselves. Part of taking care of themselves is not putting themselves in harm’s way.
  3. Use a parental control filter. Only you know the password which makes it your perogative what types of activities are available. Start by blocking ‘pornography’ because few little boys can resist the urge to type that whispered three letter word heard on the playground. From there, block everything you worry about–chicks, Minecraft, girls, Facebook, xxx, murder. It’s easy to unblock if your child needs a site that won’t come up. More importantly, it leads to a conversation with your child about what they’re researching, why they need it. You want your child comfortable with you involved in their lives–not as an arbiter of right and wrong, but as an interested loving party.
  4. Do not assume parental controls are perfect. Assume they aren’t. Stay vigilant. Be aware when your child is too quiet or too noisy at the computer. Ask questions. Pop in unexpectedly.
  5. Enforce rules. Don’t decide you’re too tired one night to go check a website your child tells you they need to visit. Always always always follow your own rules.
  6. Check ‘history’ on your child’s computer. Do it with them so they understand you’re not hiding anything. This is part of the plan to keep them safe.
  7. Know what their school does to keep your child safe online. Follow the same rules, or follow your own. Do explain the differences to your child. Children are flexible. They will be fine with varied rules.

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, websites | Tags: | 4 Comments