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Author Archives: Jacqui

About Jacqui

Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

How Tech Enhances Class Performance

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Jane Sandwood, has interesting ideas on blending tech with tradition:

Balancing Technology With Traditional Teaching To Enhance Performance In Class

California has recently increased state investment in school technology, focusing on better broadband connections and supporting further teaching of computer science. Although there is still some debate about the benefits of increasing use of technology in schools, there appears to be plenty of evidence to show that, if used effectively, it can greatly enhance learning. It isn’t as productive on its own, and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for good teachers. However, blended learning takes the positive aspects of technology and combines them with tried and tested teaching methods. Although children are naturally becoming citizens of the digital world, for them to integrate fully and in a positive way in this new society, they still need guidance from teachers.

Teaching A Mindful Approach

A balanced approach is particularly useful when dealing with the potential negative effects of digital use, and especially social media. Children are now intrinsically linked to the digital world, but they still need to be taught how to navigate through social media safely, and to ensure that their interactions are positive and useful. In some cases, even after guidance, children may still use social media in questionable ways, and this could indicate other underlying issues or vulnerabilities. However, for all children, it’s important to find ways to balance these adverse effects. Taking sessions in mediation and mindfulness can be a useful technique to manage or reduce the negative effects of social media. In addition, they may also help children concentrate and be more attentive in class.

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Categories: Teaching Strategies | Tags: | Leave a comment

17 Sites About Coin Counting

Primary schoolers learn about money. The only way to really ‘get it’ is by repetition. Here’s a list of websites to provide redundancy for each type of learner:

  1. Brain Pop Learn about Money
  2. Cash Out
  3. Cashtivity
  4. Coin Counting
  5. Coin games—from US Mint
  6. Count Money
  7. Counting Money
  8. Face on money
  9. Face on money–from Lunapic; lots of options
  10. Make change
  11. Money—counting
  12. Moneyville
  13. Money Flashcards–APlus Math
  14. Mr. Bouncy’s Money collection–lots of websites
  15. US Mint virtual tour (a slideshow)

If you have iPads, here are two you’ll love:

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

Hour of Code: Program Shortkeys

shortkeyCreating a shortkey for a program will quickly become a favorite with your students. I use it for the snipping tool–because we use that a lot in class–but you can create one for any program you use a lot. Then I discovered how to create a shortkey for it:

  • Go to Start
  • Right click on the desired program
  • Select ‘properties’
  • Click in ‘shortcut’
  • Push the key combination you want to use to invoke the snipping tool. In my case, I used Ctrl+Alt+S
  • Save

Here’s a video to show you:

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Categories: Problem solving, Tech tips | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hour of Code: Minecraft Review

Every week, I share a website that inspired my students. This one is perfect for Hour of Code. Make yourself a hero for an hour:

Age:

Grades 3-8 (or younger, or older)

Topic:

Problem-solving, critical thinking, building

Address:

Minecraft

Review:

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Categories: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 8th grade, Games/Simulations, Problem solving, Websites | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Holiday Card in Publisher

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…)

Categories: 2nd, 3rd Grade, 5th Grade, Art, Computer skills, DTP, Freebies/Discounts, Holidays, Lesson plans, Parents | Tags: | 1 Comment

120+ Digital Citizenship Links on 22 Topics

digital citizenshipHere’s a long list of websites to address Digital Citizenship topics you teach in your classroom:

Avatars

to promote digital privacy

  1. Avatar 1–a monster
  2. Avatar 2–Lego you
  3. Avatar 3–animal
  4. Tellagami–a video avatar
  5. Vokis
  6. With comics, via Pixton — fee-based

Copyrights and Digital Law

  1. Copyrights–BrainPop video
  2. Copyright and Fair Use–Common Sense Media video
  3. Copyright Law Explained (fun video, informative, thorough)
  4. Copyright law curriculum
  5. Creative Commons
  6. Take the mystery out of copyrights–by the Library of Congress
  7. Videos on licensing, copyrights, more (from Creative Commons)

digital image of laptop with human hands and eyesCurriculum

  1. Common Sense media
  2. Ask a Tech Teacher

Cyberbullying

  1. Bullying—Watch this (videos)
  2. Cyberbullying video
  3. Cyber-bullying–5th grade
  4. Cyber-bullying—BrainPop
  5. Cyberbullying—what is it
  6. Think Time: How Does Cyberbullying Affect You

DigCit (General)

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Categories: Digital Citizenship, Websites | Tags: | 4 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

Tech Tip #115: Three-click Rule

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 Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Some websites/blogs are confusing. I click through way too many options to get anything done. What’s with that?

A: I hadn’t put a lot of thought to this until I read a discussion on one of my teacher forums about the oft-debunked-and-oft-followed 3-click rule made popular by Web designer Jeffrey Zeldman in his book, “Taking Your Talent to the Web.”. This claims ‘that no product or piece of content should ever be more than three clicks away from your Web site’s main page’.

This is true with not just programming a website, but teaching tech to students. During my fifteen years of teaching tech, I’ve discovered if I keep the geeky stuff to a max of 2-3 steps, students remember it, embrace it, and use it. More than three steps, I hear the sound of eyes glazing over.

Whether you agree with the ‘rule’ or not, it remains a good idea to make information easy and quick to find. Readers have a short attention span. Same is true of students.

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Categories: Problem solving, Tech tips, Websites | Leave a comment

3 Lesson Plans to Teach Architecture in First Grade

1st grade architectureHere’s a great lesson plan with three activities well-suited to the discussion of architecture and design in 1st grade:

Review

Students complete three projects in two weeks to aid understanding of architecture, design, and three-dimensional thinking. They’ll experiment with spatially laying out a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional paper. When completed, they’ll discuss with neighbors while practicing good listening skills learned in class.

Start with a discussion of design. This includes size, shape, texture, proportion, scale, mass and color. We will apply these to rooms, buildings, and neighborhoods. Encourage students to think and analyze critically as they engage in learning.

In figures below, ask students which are two- or three-dimensions? How do they know?

[gallery ids="50170,50171,50172,50173,50164"]

Design the Classroom

Visit Classroom Architect and demo how to design the classroom with drag-and-drop pieces (see figures below). Take suggestions from class on layout. Students must think about where tables and storage are relative to other items. This is an active learning lesson that encourages visual thinking. Develop a sample based on class input and show how to make corrections if necessary.

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Categories: 1st, Lesson plans, Reviews, Science, Teacher resources, Web Tools, Websites | Tags: | 4 Comments

23 Great Research Websites for Kids

5880711 process cycle diagramHere are quick, safe spots to send students for research:

  1. BrainPop
  2. Citation Machine
  3. CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
  4. CyberSleuth Kids
  5. Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
  6. Fact Monster
  7. Fun Brain
  8. How Stuff Works
  9. Info Please
  10. Insta-Grok
  11. Internet Public Library (IPL)
  12. Kid Rex
  13. KidsConnect–Kids research
  14. Library Spot
  15. National Geographic for Kids
  16. Nova video programs
  17. SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
  18. Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
  19. SqoolTube Videos
  20. TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
  21. World Almanac for Kids
  22. World Book
  23. Zanran–statistics and data research

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Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Research, Reviews, Teacher resources, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment