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Kindergarten

The Power of Symbols–What does the word ‘Turkey’ mean?

thanksgivingLast 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.

[polldaddy poll=7398424]

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, Holidays, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Math, Word study/Vocabulary | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Teach Mouse Skills to Pre-Keyboarders

2027749 cartoon computer mouseMany students enter kindergarten with a basic knowledge of digital devices like iPads and smartphones, but this rarely includes the use of a mouse. This little piece of hardware is strictly for desktop devices and maybe add-ons for laptops. In today’s tech world, you may even consider it a niche item.

But you’d be wrong.

Rarely is there a child that can get through school without using a mouse. If s/he doesn’t know the basic skills — click, double-click, right-click, drag-drop, hover — they will be confused, even frustrated, by so much of what makes technology work. These are not intuitive, starting with how to hold the mouse.

mouse_hold

Little hands with undeveloped fine motor skills struggle to keep their pointer and middle finger spread apart while simultaneously pushing with one finger rather than the whole hand. The moment before students grab ahold of that round little device, teach them how to use it. Don’t expect them — or force them — to figure it out on their own. It’s not intuitive and — like keyboarding — will only create bad habits that must be broken later.

Here are nine websites that teach mouse basics to kindergarten and first graders in clever ways:

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

16 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills

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:

[gallery type="square" ids="50137,28323,28324,50140,50139,54260"]

 

Here are 16 websites students will enjoy, including 3 for adults new to computers:

(more…)

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

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

technology 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, 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

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 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.

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

11 Easter Sites For Students

easter websitesMany 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:

  1. Easter color-me (for Kindergarten/first grade)
  2. Easter Color Me to print or import to drawing program
  3. Easter games II
  4. Easter games III
  5. Easter games IV
  6. Easter poems and songs (to play online)
  7. Easter Puppies–video
  8. Easter puzzles and games
  9. Easter songs for kids
  10. Easter story--the Easter Egg–video
  11. Easter Word hunt (Starfall)

(more…)

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

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

The Power of Symbols–What does the word ‘Turkey’ mean?

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.

[polldaddy poll=7398424]

(more…)

Categories: 1st, Geography, Holidays, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Math, Word study/Vocabulary | Tags: | 1 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

32 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

14 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 practice—drag, click
  4. Mouse skills
  5. Mouse Song
  6. Wack-a-gopher (no gophers hurt in this)

(more…)

Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Tags: | 2 Comments