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2nd

Do Your Children Need Computers for School?

back to schoolThis is a question I get from parents all the time. Most parents want to get what their child needs as affordably as possible, and don’t want to save a few bucks at the expense of their child. If that sounds like you, here are suggestions on how to decide to get one, what type, and what to include:

  1. Talk to the classroom teacher. What are their expectations of the child? If they’re like the ones in my school, they will want him/her to have access to basic software and the internet for research, maybe email. That’s it.
  2. You’re wondering whether a laptop or desktop is best? There are lots of reasons why a laptop might be a good decision for your particular family dynamics, but in general terms, a desktop is fine for a younger child (K-5). They don’t need to take it to friend’s house for group projects much until they reach middle school, and I would not suggest gearing a more-expensive laptop decision around an occasional project. I guarantee, the teacher won’t.
  3. There are other reasons why a desktop is a good decision. It is more durable (it isn’t carried around, so can’t be dropped). If part breaks (the keyboard, mouse, monitor), you don’t have to replace the entire computer–just that part. Because children are tougher on electronics than experienced users (this should be expected), it will make these sorts of problems less dramatic and costly. And, a desktop has a larger hard drive, more memory, bigger screen, and more drives/ports for input devices. That makes it more adaptable to unexpected needs.
  4. Now you need to select which level of desktop your child requires. Does s/he need the basic $350 on sale version or the everything-in-it upgrade? Start simple. Basic. See what the child uses, what else s/he needs before making an expensive decision. Most kids are fine with the lower end of productivity. Some, though, want the works. You’ll know which is right for your child by the time you’re ready for an upgrade.

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

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–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

Digital delivery only (print coming)

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

__________________________________________________________________________

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, keyboarding | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Great (Free) Lesson Plans

39-aHere’s a list of over seventy-five lesson plans free for your use. They’re organized by:

  • subject
  • software/tool
  • grade

You just highlight the lesson, then copy-paste to a doc of your choice.

If you want them printed out on 8.5×11 sheets, they are available for purchase here.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the lessons:

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="2533,2503,2502,2501,2500,2474,2473,2472,2448,2447,2446,2445,2402,2401,2391,2390,2304,2303,2236,2235,2231,2230,2229,2155,2137,2136,2135,2132,2131,2128,2127,2123,2122,2104,2103,2102,2101,2100,2099,2098,2047,2046,2040,2039,1615,1612,1611,1610,1609,1608,1604,1603,1602,1601,1557,1556,1555,1531,1530,1525,1524,81"]

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

Tech Ed Resources for your Classroom–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, 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.

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

38 Art Websites for K-8

children-picture-184575_640If your children are eager to be creative this summer, but addicted to computers, try these wonderful art-oriented websites. For your youngers, start any visit to the internet with a conversation about safety, privacy, and good digital citizenship. Soon, they’ll know the rules and you won’t have to keep chatting about it:

Lots of art websites for K-8

  1. Art Online
  2. ASCII art picture generator–instant
  3. ASCII Art Text Generator
  4. BigHuge Labs
  5. Image edit exposure tool
  6. Image Edited? Check here
  7. PhotoCube

Avatars

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, art, kindergarten, websites | Leave a comment

Use Google Safe Search

Drop by every Friday to discover what wonderful website my classes, teachers and parents loved this week. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of yours as they are of mine.

Age:

Elementary school, Middle school

Topic:

Research

Address:

Google

Review:

I get this question a lot so wanted to repost this review. Well, that was my plan. Then I started editing, so now it’s pretty different.

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Categories: 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Web Tools, websites | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

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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