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, 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
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.
Personalizing a digital device with unique wallpaper is a great way to encourage students to take responsibility for their iPad, Chromebook, laptop, PC, or another digital device. Choose the one best-suited to your digital devices.
- Method One: Use your digital device’s organic method of changing wallpaper. Most devices have 1) a wallpaper collection that’s available to users, and 2) a method of using images from user Pictures folder (or camera roll). Here’s how you access this option in Windows, Chromebooks, and iPads:
Here are examples in a PCs, Chromebooks, and iPads:[gallery ids="52448,52445,52449"]
- Method Two: Create your own wallpaper using school drawing program (such as KidPix, Paint, TuxPaint, Photoshop, or another). Save it to your digital portfolio. Use this personalized drawing under Method One or Four (as available).
From Ask a Tech Teacher
Are you teaching a Summer Tech Camp to Kids? We have the solution:
Build Your Own Adventure
$230 value for $179
It’s the end of school. Everyone’s tired, including you. What you want for these last few weeks are activities that keep the learning going, but in a different way. You want to shake things up so students are excited and motivated and feel interested again.
Change your approach to teaching. Provide some games, simulations, student presentations–whatever you don’t normally do in your classroom. If you’re doing PowerPoints, use the last few weeks for presentations. Make them special–invite teachers. Invite parents. If you never serve food in your lab, do it for these presentations.
Here are my favorite year-end Change-up activities:
6 Webtools in 6 Weeks
Give students a list of 10-15 webtools that are age-appropriate. I include Prezi, Google MapMaker, Scratch, Voice Thread, Glogster, ScribbleMap, and Tagxedo, These will be tools they don’t know how to use (and maybe you don’t either). They work in groups to learn the tool (using help files, how-to videos, and resources on the site), create a project using the tool (one that ties into something being discussed in class), and then teach classmates. Challenge students to notice similarities between their chosen tools and others that they know how to use. This takes about three weeks to prepare and another three weeks to present (each presentation takes 20ish minutes). Students will be buzzing with all the new material and eager to use it for summer school or the next year.
Instead of webtools, you may choose to have students play educational games and simulations online and teach them to classmates.
Designed for grades 3-12. Here’s a thorough lesson plan.
Whiteboards have long been a de rigeur staple in classrooms, occupying pride-of-place at the front of the room. Despite the popularity of hi-tech Smartscreens, the simple whiteboard remains the favored method of sharing information during class time.
But one change has revolutionized their use: They can now be projected from your iPad. Before introducing three amazing must-have whiteboard apps, let me note that there are dozens of options, all with varied traits and prices. I selected these three because they are intuitive, multi-functional, and work as a classroom tool rather than just another new widget teachers must learn.
Free to try
AirSketch is a basic, uncomplicated whiteboard that lets you do anything you’d normally do on a whiteboard. It’s similar to web-based options like AWW or Scriblink with two dramatic differences: It works through a iPad and can be mirrored to a computer (and from there, the class screen). This untethers teachers from their desk. All that’s needed is an iPad, AirSketch, a class computer, and a class screen.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open AirSketch on an iPad. In the lower right corner, it provides the page’s IP address.
- Type that IP address into the computer browser and the iPad screen appears.
- Project this to the class screen while using the iPad as a whiteboard
AirSketch is simple to set up and intuitive to use. It’s exactly like using the whiteboard–though instead of markers, you use a finger. Students no longer have to traipse up to the (intimidating) front of the room to answer questions. Instead, they borrow your iPad and draw their response.
- 19 Holiday Websites For Your Students
- Book Review: 16 Holiday Projects
- Holiday Newsletter
- A Holiday Card in KidPix
- A Holiday Memory in Word or KidPix
- A Holiday Letter for Grades 2-6
- Holiday Card in Publisher
- Holiday Flier in Publisher
- A Holiday Story in MS Word for Grades 2-7
- A Holiday Newsletter in Publisher for Elementary School
- A Holiday Calendar in MS Publisher for Elementary School
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- 5 Fabulous Last-minute Gifts
- here’d Christmas Come From
- 1 FREE Holiday Resources
- 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.
Greeting cards are easy enough for second graders–even early readers. Using MS Publisher, pick a template, add a picture to personalize, add their name–and they’re done. It takes about 15 minutes. Kids always feel great about creating these greeting cards: (more…)