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.
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 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.
Who needs this
Tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists
Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.
How do you use it
If you’re the tech teacher and have dedicated technology time each week, this takes you through that 30-45 minutes, unpacking what needs to be taught when. If you’re a classroom teacher, integrate the lesson pieces into your regular curriculum. For example, where a project is required to learn a tech skill, pick one that supports your inquiry.
Stuff that goes nicely with this
First of all, when you buy this curriculum, you get weekly webinar training, access to a companion wiki, access to a Master Teacher to address your questions. So don’t buy those.
What else do you need? Hmmm…..webinars maybe
Where do you get it
Available in print and/or digital as a single or multi-user license
Pay via PayPal or school PO
Sold directly from:
Screenshots from the K-8 books:[gallery type="slideshow" ids="23104,11559,10204,10209,10201,10200,7819,7820,7817,6383,5479,5478,5461,4927,4924,4919,4918,4897,4886,4441,18363,10127,10126"]
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of dozens of technology training books that 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, 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.
If 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
- Art Online
- ASCII art picture generator–instant
- ASCII Art Text Generator
- BigHuge Labs
- Image edit exposure tool
- Image Edited? Check here
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:
- Bees and Honey
- Click the square
- Jigsaw puzzles
- K-1 mouse practice
- More Mouse Skills
- Mouse and tech basics–video
- Mouse Click Skills—gorgeous
- Mouse exercises–for olders too
- Mouse movement–bomono
- Mouse practice
- Mouse practice—drag, click
- Mouse skills
- Mouse Song
- Mouse Use Video
- Mouse—Tidy the Classroom
- Mouse—Wack a Gopher
- Mousing around
- Tidy the classroom
- Wack-a-gopher (no gophers hurt in this)
by Structured Learning IT Teaching Team
I’m often asked what books I recommend for teaching technology in the classroom. Each year about this time, I do a series of reviews on my favorite tech ed books. If you want to fix some of last year’s problems, I suggest you consider the nine-volume K-8 technology curriculum series that’s used in hundreds of school districts across the country (and a few internationally). It’s skills-based, project-based, aligned with Common Core and NETS national standards and fully integratable into state core classroom standards.
The first in the series, the 132-page Kindergarten Technology: 32 Lessons Any Kindergartner Can Do (Structured Learning 2013), is available in print or digital, and perfect for Smartscreens, iPads, laptops, digital readers. It includes many age-appropriate samples, reproducibles, Web 2.0 connections, thematic websites, and how-to’s. Because I edited this book, I made sure it includes pieces that I as a teacher knew to be critical to the classroom:
I’ve spent a good chunk of time this summer updating my link collections so they are easier to wander through and reflect more topics you’re interested in. Here are 34 categories. K-MS are also subdivided by topics with age-appropriate links. The themed categories mix all ages together. I’m not sure which is better. It’s awfully difficult to differentiate by age considering the varied skill levels of students. Please forgive me if the grade-level categories don’t always hit the mark for you!
Remember: Any time students visit the internet, remind them of their rights and responsibilities, and the obligation to be good digital citizens.
As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: Kids always get confused when I’m explaining directions that require the right mouse button. I’ve found an easy way to clarify:
“Right click with your mouse”
Student promptly clicks with their left mouse. I know–doesn’t make sense. It does to them. They’re happy to focus on the right hand and have no idea they need to go one level further. My comeback:
“The other right.”
- use the coupon code in the 5th edition of the SL curriculum book (the inside cover), or
- purchase a membership here. If you were a member using the 4th edition and don’t want to upgrade to 5th ed. (maybe your state isn’t following Common Core), this is the option for you. It’s a great deal for 32 weeks of guided tech instruction.
These are my 120 favorite kindergarten websites. I sprinkle them in throughout the year, adding several each week to the class internet start page, deleting others. I make sure I have 3-4 each week that integrate with classroom inquiry, 3-4 that deal with technology skills and a few that simply excite students about tech.
Here’s the list:
Cheryl Lyman has 12 years experience teaching K-12 computer science, most recently at McDonald Elementary in Pennsylvania as Instructional Technology Specialist. Awards include Classrooms of the Future Coach, Ed Tech Leader of the Year Semifinalist, PA Keystone Technology Integrator, PA State Peer Reviewer, and Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist. We look forward to her knowledgeable insights in curriculum development and technology integration into the classroom.
The Importance of Literacy In K-5 Classrooms
I recently completed a literacy course through the University of Pennsylvania. This course was predominately geared towards secondary classes. However, it provided me with insight to the importance of literacy at a very early age and how I have the power to promote literacy as a teacher of technology.
By third grade, students can begin to lose interest in literacy. In some cases, that interest will never be sparked again. Many schools stop teaching reading in middle school at a time when higher level literacy skills are just beginning to emerge. It is assumed that if you can sound a word, you can read and reading skills and strategies are ignored. Is it no wonder that our student achievement scores have not improved in the last thirty years?
As teachers who embrace the use of technology in our classrooms, we have the power to keep the literacy embers burning and possibly ignite them for a lifetime for our students. Each day we have the opportunity to use technology with our students to keep them engaged in reading and writing. Keep in mind that we can be very creative in how we use our tools so students are immersed in literacy and they don’t even know it!
We can help students to annotate passages, take notes, look up words in online dictionaries they do not understand, develop creative thinking and problem solving skills –the list is endless for us to show our students how literacy will open doors for them.
What is a parent’s greatest fear that first day they drop their precious child at kindergarten? You might think it’s whether they’ll get along with new friends or handle academic pressures. Or even that their eyes will be opened to the vastness of the Universe and no longer see their parents as the Answer to Everything.
Those are frightening, and might be ranked in the top ten–or even five–but today, the biggest concern is how to protect an innocent from the pernicious onslaught of the technology that grows like mold over every part of the education landscape. Will that trusting child be cyberbullied? Will they see stuff they shouldn’t on school websites? Will a predator find them from a naive contact online? And what about classmates–will they share bad websites found by older siblings?
It may surprise you that this scenario also keeps teachers awake at night, especially new teachers. What if they fail to protect their charges from this violent, dark online world? I remember second grade life cycle reports. I taught students how to search online images for pictures of each stage in a bug’s development, save them to student network folders, and then proudly insert them in the report. Students would find authentic and exciting pictures of ‘ladybugs’ and ‘pupae’ and ‘preying mantis larvae’ and ‘chicks’–
Chicks! That turned out to be a lousy search term. I’d warn students to search ‘baby chickens’ instead, but always, for one child each year, it wouldn’t work and–according to their parents–were permanently damaged by the pictures that popped up. They’d have nightmares. Their personalities would forever tilt to the dark side because of that picture–at least.
Truth, all stakeholders do their best, but stuff happens. If not in the classroom, at a friend’s house whose parents aren’t as vigilant as they could be, or on an iPad during library time. Educational best practices used to insist on protecting children from those eventualities, minimize exposure by unplugging kids as much as possible. That’s not the case any more. Even if we unplug them at the school house door, they plug right back in the moment they are away from the classroom. Our job as educators is to stare into the abyss of the unknown and educate: Teach these digital natives how to not just survive but thrive in the digital world.