browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Lesson plans

#73: How to Graph in Excel

Excel graphs are easy enough for third graders. So try it. Collect your data, enter it into an excel worksheet and push F11. If you have more time, show students how to format the graph. This is a favorite with my third graders.

If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.

[gallery ids="44547,44545,44546"]

More about spreadsheets:

#75: Tessellations in Excel

#12: Create Simple Shapes in Excel

How to Use Excel to Teach Math Arrays

5 bundled Excel lesson plans (for a fee)


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to 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, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Follow me

Categories: Excel, Freebies/Discounts, Lesson plans | Tags: | Leave a comment

What is the 21st Century Lesson Plan?

lesson plansTechnology and the connected world put a fork in the old model of teaching–instructor in front of the class, sage on the stage, students madly taking notes, textbooks opened to the chapter being reviewed, homework as worksheets based on the text, tests regurgitating important facts.

Did I miss anything?

This model is outdated not because it didn’t work (many statistics show students ranked higher on global testing years ago than they do now), but because the environment changed. Our classrooms are more diverse. Students are digital natives, already in the habit of learning via technology. The ‘college and career’ students are preparing for is different so the education model must be different.

Preparing for this new environment requires radical changes in teacher lesson plans. Here are seventeen concepts you’ll want to include in your preparation:

  1. Students are graduating from high school unable to work in the jobs that are available. It’s the teacher’s responsibility to insure students learn over-arching concepts such as how to speak to a group, how to listen effectively, how to think critically, and how to solve problems. The vehicle for teaching these ideas is history, science, and literature, but they aren’t the goal.industry analyst
  2. To focus on the over-arching concepts above, make learning platform-neutral. For example, when teaching spreadsheets, make the software or online tools a vehicle for practicing critical thinking, data analysis, and evidence-based learning, not for learning one brand of software or a particular spreadsheet tool. Besides, what you use at school may not be what students have at home. You don’t want students to conflate your lessons with ‘something done at school’. You want them to apply them to their life.
  3. Morph the purpose from ‘knowing’ to ‘understanding’. Teach the process, not a skill. Students should understand why they select a particular tool, not just how to use it. Why use PowerPoint instead of a word processing program? Or a spreadsheet instead of a slideshow? Expect students to be critical thinkers, not passive learners.
  4. Transfer of knowledge is critical. What students learn in one class is applied to all classes (where relevant). For example, word study is no longer about memorizing vocabulary, but knowing how to decode unknown academic and domain-specific words using affixes, roots, and context.
  5. Collaboration and sharing is part of what students learn. They help each other by reviewing and commenting on projects before submittal to the teacher (GAFE makes that easy). The definition of ‘project’ itself has changed from ‘shiny perfect student work’ to review-edit-rewrite-submit. You grade them on all four steps, not just the last one. This makes a lot of sense–who gets it right the first time? I rewrote this article at least three times before submitting. Why expect differently from students? Plus: No longer do students submit a project that only the teacher sees (and then a few are posted on classroom bulletin boards). Now, it is shared with all classmates, so all benefit from every students’ work.collaboration
  6. Self-help methods are provided and you expect students to use them. This includes online dictionaries and thesauruses, how-to videos, and access to teacher assistance outside of class. These are available 24/7 for students, not just during classroom hours. This happens via online videos, taped class sessions, the class website, downloadable materials so students don’t worry that they ‘left it in their desk’.
  7. Teachers are transparent with parents. You let them know what’s going on in the classroom, welcome their questions and visits, communicate often via email or blogs when it’s convenient for them. That doesn’t mean you’re on duty around the clock. It means you differentiate for the needs of your parents. Your Admin understands that change by providing extended lunch hours, compensatory time off, or subs when you’re fulfilling this responsibility.App icons
  8. Failure is a learning tool. Assessments aren’t about ‘getting everything right’ but about making progress toward the goal of preparing for life
  9. Differentiation is the norm. You allow different approaches as long as students achieve the Big Idea or answer the Essential Question. You aren’t the only one to come up with these varied approaches–students know what works best for their learning and present it to you as an option.
  10. The textbook is a resource, supplemented by a panoply of books, primary documents, online sites, experts, Skype chats, and anything else that supports the topic. This information doesn’t always agree on a conclusion. Students use habits of mind like critical thinking, deep learning, and evidence-based decisions to decide on the right answers.education resources
  11. The lesson plan changes from the first day to the last–and that’s OK. It is adapted to student needs, interests, and hurdles that arise as it unfolds, while staying true to its essential question and big idea.
  12. Assessment might include a quiz or test, but it also judges the student’s transfer of knowledge from other classes, their tenacity in digging into the topic, their participation in classroom discussions, and more.big idea Light bulb  illustration icon
  13. Vocabulary is integrated into lessons, not a stand-alone topic. Students are expected to decode words in class materials that they don’t understand by using quickly-accessed online vocabulary tools, or deriving meaning from affixes, roots, and context.word study
  14. Problem solving is integral to learning. It’s not a stressful event, rather viewed as a life skill. Who doesn’t have problems every day that must be solved? Students are expected to attempt a solution using tools at their disposal (such as prior knowledge, classmates, and classroom resources) before asking for help.
  15. Digital citizenship is taught, modeled and enforced in every lesson, every day, every class. It’s no longer something covered in the ‘tech lab’ because every class has as much potential for working online as offline. Every time the lesson plan calls for an online tool or research using a search engine or a YouTube video, teachers review/remind/teach how to visit the online neighborhood safely. It’s frightening how students blithely follow weblinks to places most parent wouldn’t allow their child to visit in their neighborhood. Just as students have learned how to survive in a physical community of strangers, they must learn to do the same in a digital neighborhood.
  16. Keyboarding skills are granular. They aren’t used only in the computer lab, but in every class students take. If students are using iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, or desktops for learning, they are using keyboarding–which means they must know how to do so efficiently, quickly, and stresslessly. Since keyboarding benefits all classes, all teachers–including the librarian–become partners in this effort. I go into classrooms and show students the broad strokes; the teacher reinforces it every time the student sits down at the computer.typing on keyboard
  17. Play is the new teaching. It is a well-accepted concept for pre-schoolers and has made a successful leap to the classroom, relabeled as ‘gamification’. Use the power of games to draw students into learning and encourage them to build on their own interests. Popular games in the classroom include Minecraft, Mission US, Scratch, and others on this list. If your school is new to this concept, clear it with admin first and be prepared to support your case.play

When I first wrote lesson plans, it was all about aligning learning with standards, completing the school’s curricula, ticking off required skills. Now, I build the habits of mind that allow for success in education and home life and construct a personal knowledge base with students that will work for their differentiated needs. Like any lesson plan, this is only difficult the first time. After that, it seems natural.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to 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, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Follow me

Categories: Critical thinking, Education reform, Lesson plans | Tags: | 1 Comment

#55: Keyboarding in the Classroom

Mix a variety of keyboarding tools so students get the most out of keyboarding time in the classroom. I include software (TTL4), online keyboarding websites (Dancemat typing) and fun tests (TypingTest.com). The goal is to get students to age-appropriate national standards for typing speed with practice three times per week, fifteen minutes each time. Click the image below to enlarge:

(more…)

Categories: Freebies/Discounts, Keyboarding, Lesson plans | Leave a comment

6 Stand-alone Lesson Plans for Subs

substitute teacherAs a tech educator, it’s difficult to find a substitute teacher who is comfortable delivering my tech-infused lesson plans to students. Even if the sub is knowledgeable in the subject matter, s/he doesn’t have intimate knowledge of what this particular student group knows about software, websites, problem solving, and more, which can be scaffolded for the current lesson. Nor does she know my organic expectations of students such as the level of independence and self-direction I expect during class. When I started teaching tech, my generic sub lesson plan looked like this:

  • practice keyboarding for fifteen minutes
  • visit inquiry-themed websites

That was fine–don’t get me wrong; it promotes student learning while avoiding a meltdown by the teacher–but I now have better options that keep momentum going while I am away for PD or recovering from an unexpected illness. This collection of six stand-alone lesson plans are designed to complete important techie learning tasks, assess existing knowledge, or integrate technology rigor into class inquiry. They require little domain-specific knowledge on the part of the sub, asking primarily that s/he supervise activities and encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and transfer of knowledge on the part of students. Next time you need an emergency lesson plan, try one of these:

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Lesson plans | Leave a comment

#54: Sponge Activities in History

Six edutainment websites to be visited in spare time in the classroom (as with all sponges). Each deals with history and can be enjoyed with only a few minutes of time

lesson plans

–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom. (more…)

Categories: Freebies/Discounts, History, Lesson plans | Tags: | Leave a comment

#52: Indigenous Cultures Magazine in Publisher

Create a magazine on any topic you’re covering in class using text, pictures, diagrams, charts. Add a cover and a table of contents.

Click on each page of lesson plan.

(more…)

Categories: Freebies/Discounts, History, Lesson plans, Publisher, Research | Tags: | Leave a comment

#49: California Missions Project

Millions of third graders study California missions. Here’s a great project that brings it to life with some writing, lots of pictures and a dash of creativity that will excite every student.

If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.

publisher project

publisher projectpublisher projectpublisher project (more…)

Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, History, Lesson plans, Publisher | Tags: | 2 Comments

Lesson Plans: Where Did I Come From?

Students find their country of origin on Google Earth and grab a screen shot of it. Save to their computer. Import it into a drawing program like KidPix and add the country flag and student name. Students learn about importing data from one program to another with this project.

[caption id="attachment_5431" align="aligncenter" width="564"]lesson plan Use Google Earth in Second Grade[/caption]

–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom.

More articles on geography and Google Earth:

149 Websites for K-8 Geography/Geology

Tech Tip #65: Google Street View

Monday Freebies #40: Wonders of Google Earth

(more…)

Categories: 2nd, 3rd Grade, Geography, Google earth, Kidpix, Lesson plans | Leave a comment

What to do When Computers Are Down

sideways cat on laptopAll tech teachers have experienced a day when the computers don’t work. You jiggle the mouse and nothing. You reboot and the screens remain dark. You know how to tap dance when the internet won’t connect (use software instead) or a particular program refuses to load (go to your Symbaloo page of alternatives).
 ..
But what happens when the computers themselves are down–a systemic virus, or a site-wide upgrade that went bad? What do you do with the eager faces who tumble across your threshold ready for their once-a-week computer time? You need something that ties into technology without using it.
..
Here are some ideas:
..

Discuss digital citizenship

This is a topic that needs to be discussed every year, repetitively. When I teach digital citizenship, it always includes lots of back-and-forth conversation and surprised faces. Students have no idea that the right to use online resources includes responsibilities. In getting that point across, I end up answering endless questions, many that revolve around, ‘But no one knows who I am’, ‘But how can I be caught‘.

Use tech downtime to delve into this topic. Gather in a circle and talk about concepts like ‘digital footprint’, ‘plagiarism’, and ‘digital privacy’. Common Sense has a great poster (see image below) that covers these through a discussion on when to put photos online. You can print it out or display it on the Smartscreen. Take your time. Solicit lots of input from students–like their experiences with online cyberbullies and Instagram, and what happens with their online-enabled Wii platforms. It can be their personal experience or siblings.

A note: The poster says it’s for middle and high school, but I use it with students as young as third grade by scaffolding and backfilling the discussion:

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | Tags: | 2 Comments

Subscribers: Your December Special is Available

Only a few more days for Ask a Tech Teacher subscribers to get 25% off:

This month:

Student Workbooks

Coupon code: STUDENTWKBKSPECIAL

25% off a Room License (up to 26 seats) on 1-9 grades

9 grade-level technology curriculum student eworkbooks (kindergarten through 8th grade–only 3rd-8th available currently). Aligned with the Structured Learning K-8 technology curriculum (which is aligned with Common Core and ISTE)–one ebook per grade level. Each ebook is 136-195 pages, with 193-230 images.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="38071,38063,38064,38065,38066,38067,38068,38069,38070"]

This is a student-paced, student-directed course that integrates with any school curriculum and prepares students for end-of-year Common Core testing. Includes:

  • why learn technology?
  • formative and summative assessments
  • domain-specific vocabulary
  • relevant tech problem solving
  • required digital citizenship overview
  • curriculum map with a K-8 timeline of topics
  • embedded links so students can simply click and go—no searching for the site, trying to remember the site address
  • rubrics, quizzes, study guides, and more–to save teacher duplicating papers. It’s right there in the workbook!
  • over one hundred full-color images and how-tos
  • samples of projects at student fingertips so wherever they’re practicing, they have an example and directions
  • background material right there. If student wants to remember what they did a week–a month–ago, it’s right there.
  • extensions to dig deeper for those who are inspired by a topic
  • year’s worth of homework–all in one place
  • workbook goes with the student. It’s licensed to them through the school. If they’re in the library, the classroom, the soccer field, they can practice. Even at home (with appropriate license).

What’s included in Student Workbooks

  • student digital workbooks for the entire class
  • teacher manual for each grade level purchased (print–international excluded–and digital)
  • 32 teacher videos weekly to address current lesson (K-5 only)

Benefits of a Room License for School:

  • provide an overarching curriculum map for using technology in your school
  • provide access to full text PDF from 26 digital devices in the room, 24 hours a day. This maximizes productivity and student independence.
  • enable flexible learning paths as students work at their own pace, with the ability to review or work ahead as needed
  • share pedagogy to infuse your classroom with technology 
  • enable teachers to dig deeper into relevant topics, vertically integrate with core grade-level teachers
  • provide multiple authentic and organic methods of formative and summative assessment
  • provide free online Help via Ask a Tech Teacher (staffed by educators who use SL resources) and grade-specific wikis  (K-5 only)
  • free desk copy of print book for teacher use (if available in print and for domestic customers only)

Benefits of Room License for Students:

  • provide easy access to monthly lessons, how-tos, rubrics, project samples, practice quizzes, grade-level expectations, homework, images, and check lists 
  • provide quick links to websites required in lessons
  • provide full color instructions that can be zoomed in on for greater detail
  • allow a convenient place to take lesson notes (using a PDF annotator like iAnnotate)
  • encourage students to be independent in their learning, work at their own pace rather than a one-size-fits-all class pace. This is great both for students who need more time and those who ‘get it’ and want to move on
  • enable a quick way to spiral up to the next grade level for quick learners or back to earlier resources for student needing to scaffold their learning
  • prepare students for the rigor of end-of-year summative testing

If you’re an AATT or Structured Learning subscriber, get 25% off when you purchase a Room License for one grade-level or a set of K-8.

If you need a license for your school or District, contact Zeke dot Rowe at StructuredLearning dot net–he’ll give you a special 25% off code for those.

Also applies to K-8 Keyboarding Student Workbooks.

Coupon code: STUDENTWKBKSPECIAL

Discount:  25% off a Room License (up to 26 seats) on 1-9 grades

Expires:    12/15/14

Works on all of these digital devices:

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="36554,36553,38278,36551,38281,36550,38280,36555,38279,38277,36552,38282"]

How to Order: Publisher’s website only

 

Categories: Lesson plans, Subscriber special, Teacher resources | Leave a comment