Category: 5th Grade
Dear Otto: How do I Teach Keyboarding in My Limited Class Time?
Here’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.
32 Websites to Support Math Automaticity in K-5
Here’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:
33 Great Research Websites for Kids
Here are quick, safe spots to send students for research:
- BrainPop–with the BrainPop characters, a launchpad to curiosity
- CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
- Dimensions–academic research geared for college-level
- Fact Monster–help with homework and facts
- Google Earth Timelapse–what changes to the planet over time
- Google Trends–what’s trending in searches
- History Channel–great speeches
- How Stuff Works–the gold standard in explaining stuff to kids
- Info Please–events cataloged year-by-year
- National Geographic for Kids
- Ngram Viewer–analyzes all words in all books on Google Books
- TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
- Wild Wordsmyth–picture dictionary for kids
- World Book–requires membership
Kids Search Engines
How to Research
- A Google A Day
- How to Search on Google
- Power Searching (with Google)
- Teaching students to search/research
- Internet Search and Research–a lesson plan for K-8
- Kids Picture Dictionary
- Primary Source Documents
- Talk to Books–research your topic based on books
Tech Tip #110: Can’t Get Sound to Work?
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: Headphones are so difficult. There’s always someone who can’t get theirs to work. I’ve tried the usual solutions, and still, we have problems. I know the sound works. What else can I do?
A: First, try the usual solutions:
- check sound on systray (lower right corner)–make sure it isn’t muted
- make sure sound isn’t pushed way down–so low you can’t hear it
- if you’re using speakers, check the sound on those–make sure it’s loud enough to hear
- if headphones are plugged in, remove them
Another solution to the no-sound problem is to switch where headphones are plugged in. Sometimes, the front port on a CPU degrades and doesn’t work well anymore. Pick your reason–little kids jiggling jacks, overuse, leprechauns. The reason doesn’t matter. What matters is students can’t hear what’s going on.
Switch headphones to a different jack. In my case, since I always use the front jack so students can independently plug them in, I switch to the rear jack. Problem’s over. (more…)
#51: History Trifold in Publisher–Grades 4-7
This lesson is a crowd pleaser. Students create a timeline showing what was happening around the world while they lived their lives. I’ve found this generates lots of discussion between students and their parents as they try to understand what the world events were.
Click on each page of lesson plan. (more…)
Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans
Martin Luther King Day is January 19th. I have two lesson plans, both aligned with Common Core, that I’m giving away to help you plan Martin Luther King Day.
Students interpret the words of Dr Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about the impact of words on history. Common Core aligned. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.
Students research events leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s impact on American history and share them with an Event Chain organized visually, including pictures and thought bubbles. Aligned with Common Core. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.
Hour of Code: Minecraft
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…)
Great (Free) Lesson Plans
Here’s a list of over seventy-five lesson plans free for your use. They’re organized by:
You just highlight the lesson, then copy-paste to a doc of your choice.
If you want them printed out on 8.5×11 sheets, they are available for purchase here.
Here’s a slideshow of some of the lessons:[gallery type="slideshow" ids="2533,2503,2502,2501,2500,2474,2473,2472,2448,2447,2446,2445,2402,2401,2391,2390,2304,2303,2236,2235,2231,2230,2229,2155,2137,2136,2135,2132,2131,2128,2127,2123,2122,2104,2103,2102,2101,2100,2099,2098,2047,2046,2040,2039,1615,1612,1611,1610,1609,1608,1604,1603,1602,1601,1557,1556,1555,1531,1530,1525,1524,81"]
38 Art Websites for K-8
If your children are eager to be creative this summer, but addicted to computers, try these wonderful art-oriented websites. For your youngers, start any visit to the internet with a conversation about safety, privacy, and good digital citizenship. Soon, they’ll know the rules and you won’t have to keep chatting about it:
You can find updates for this page here.
Lots of art websites for K-8
- Art Online
- ASCII art picture generator–instant
- ASCII Art Text Generator
- BigHuge Labs
- Image edit exposure tool
- Image Edited? Check here