Before teaching students Photoshop (or GIMP), acclimate them to photo editing with a program they are likely comfortable with: MS Word. For basic image editing, Word’s pallet of tools do a pretty good job (Note: Depending upon your version of Word, some of these tools may not be available; adapt to your version):
- Open a blank document in MS Word. Insert a picture with multiple focal points (see samples). (more…)
In this lesson plan, students type several sentences in a word processing program like MS Word. Use the font color palette to label parts of speech, i.e., blue for subject, red for verb. Use sentences from a book they’re reading in class, spelling words they’re working on, or a teacher hand-out. This makes grammar fun.
Most elementary-age students struggle with typing. This doesn’t surprise me. They’ve been handwriting since kindergarten. They’re proud of their new cursive skills. It’s easy to grab a pencil. Typing requires setting up their posture, hand position, trying to remember where all those pesky keys are (why aren’t they just alphabetized? Discuss that with students).
- Discuss whether students handwrite faster/slower than they type. You are likely to get opinions on both sides of this discussion. If not, prod students with logic for both.
- When it’s clear the class is divided on this subject (or not–that’s fine too), run an experiment to see which is faster—handwriting or typing.
- Circle back to science class and engage in a discussion on the Scientific Method. Develop a hypothesis for this class research, something like: Third grade students in Mr. X’s class can handwrite faster than they type (this is the most common opinion in my classes).
- Have students hand-copy the typing quiz they took earlier in the trimester for 3 minutes.
- Analyze the results: Compare their handwriting speed to their typing speed. I encourage an individual comparison as well as a class average comparison to help with understanding the conclusion.
- Discuss results: Why do students think some students typed faster and others typed slower? (In my classes, third graders typed approx. 10 wpm and handwrote approx. 15 wpm. Discussion was heated and enthusiastic on reasons. Especially valuable were the thoughts of those rare students who typed faster).
- Students will offer lots of reasons for slower typing (they’re new to typing, don’t do it much in class, their hands got off on the keyboard). In truth, the logistics of typing make it the hands-down winner once key placement is secured. Fingers on a keyboard are significantly faster than the moving pencil.
- One reason students suggest is that they don’t usually type from copy. Key in on this reason (quite valid, I think—don’t you?) and revise the experiment to have students type and handwrite from a prompt.
- What is the final conclusion?
- If possible, share results from 4-8th. What grade level do students consistently type faster than they handwrite? Why? Are students surprised by the answer?
- Post a list on the wall of students who type faster than they handwrite. This surprises everyone.
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: I’m writing a very (very) important paper and all of a sudden, the screen froze. I can’t save it, or anything else. What do I do?
A: Programs do freeze for no reason sometimes, but not often (I’m assuming you take care of your computer–don’t download with abandon, update it occasionally). Before you declare a dog-ate-my-homework sort of catastrophe, try this: (more…)
Here’s a great lesson that uses every child’s innate love of color to learn grammar. All you need is MS Word or Google Docs), a quick introduction to the toolbars and tools, and about 25 minutes to complete. If you’re the tech lab teacher, this gives you a chance to reinforce the grammar lesson the classroom is teaching and teach tech skills students need (click to enlarge):[caption id="attachment_1026" align="aligncenter" width="450"] From Structured Learning’s Tech Lab Toolkit Volume I[/caption]
In my school, 2nd grade and 5th grade have units on the human body. To satisfy their different maturities, I’ve developed two lists of websites to complement this inquiry. I put them on the class internet start page so when students have free time, they can visit (check here for updates):
2nd-3rd Grade[caption id="attachment_5364" align="alignright" width="212"] Place organs where they belong[/caption]
- Blood Flow
- Body Systems
- Build a Skeleton
- Can you place these parts in the correct place?
- Choose the systems you want to see.
- Find My Body Parts
- How the Body Works
- Human Body Games
- Human Body websites
- Human Body—by a 2nd grade class—video
- Human Body—videos on how body parts work
- Inside the Human Body: Grades 1-3
- Kids’ Health-My Body
- Matching Senses
- Muscles Game
- Nutrition Music and Games from Dole (more…)
This is one of the most popular lessons I teach to Excel beginners. It is relevant, instantly usable and makes sense from the beginning. Click the images below to enlarge them for viewing.[gallery columns="2" ids="45219,45218"]
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
Learning computers starts in kindergarten with understanding hardware. This lesson plan (#103 in the lesson plan book noted below) includes three pages. Introduce less with K, more each year until by sixth grade, students are good hardware problem solvers because they understand the basics.
Page 2 is an assessment you can either print out and have students fill in or push out to students to be completed online.
This project (#70 in the collection of #110) hides a spreadsheet’s power behind a template you create and students fill out at home. If they’re older and more familiar with spreadsheets, involve them in creating the template. If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.
Note: The example uses Excel, but it works just as well with Google Spreadsheets.