Category: 6th grade

How to Thrive as a Digital Citizen

Thanks to the pervasiveness of easy-to-use technology and the accessibility of the internet, teachers are no longer lecturing from a dais as the purveyor of knowledge. Now, students are expected to take ownership of their education, participate actively in the learning process, and transfer knowledge learned in the classroom to their lives.

In days past, technology was used to find information (via the internet) and display it (often via PowerPoint). No longer.  Now, if you ask a fifth grade student to write a report on space exploration, here’s how s/he will proceed:

Understand ‘Digital Citizenship’

Before the engines of research can start, every student must understand what it means to be a citizen of the world wide web. Why? Most inquiry includes a foray into the unknown vastness of the www. Students learn early (I start kindergartners with an age-appropriate introduction) how to thrive in that virtual world. It is a pleasant surprise that digital citizenship has much the same rules as their home town:

Don’t talk to bad guys, look both ways before crossing the (virtual) street, don’t go places you know nothing about, play fair, pick carefully who you trust, don’t get distracted by bling, and sometimes stop everything and take a nap.

In internet-speak, students learn to follow good netiquette, not to plagiarize the work of others, avoid scams, stay on the website they choose, not to be a cyber-bully, and avoid the virtual ‘bad guys’. Current best practices are not to hide students from any of these, but to teach them how to manage these experiences.

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How to Teach Digital Citizenship in 6th Grade

Understanding how to use the internet has become a cornerstone issue for students. No longer do they complete their research on projects solely in the library. Now, there is a vast landscape of resources available on the internet.

But with wealth comes responsibility. As soon as children begin to visit the online world, they need the knowledge to do that safely, securely, responsibly. There are several great programs available to guide students through this process (Common Sense’s Digital Passport, Carnegie CyberAcademy, Netsmart Kids). I’ve collected them as resources and developed a path to follow that includes the best of everything.

Here’s Sixth Grade (all of these links may not work. Check here for updates):

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book review

Weekend Website #116: Google Street View Locations

Every Friday, I share a website (or app) that I’ve heard about, checked into, been excited to use. This one covers anything on your mind and uses the quintessentially-popular Google Earth. I know you’re going to enjoy this review.

[caption id="attachment_9802" align="aligncenter" width="614"]Google street view--inside Google Street View goes inside locations[/caption]

Age:

3rd-8th

Topic:

Academic

Address:

Google Street View Locations

Review:

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Dear Otto: What’s a good student email program?

tech questionsDear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got:

I am fairly new to teaching technology ~ the previous computer teachers at my school did not set up student email accounts ~ I have about 200 students, PreK – 8. Is there an easy way to accomplish this?

Thank you!

We use Google Apps for 6-8, nothing for younger. I wondered what others were doing so I polled my PLNs. Overall, most schools use Google Apps if they have students emailing.

I used to teach grades 3-5 how to email (and probably should do so again in 5th grade–I’ve put that on my ToDo list). Here’re the screen shots of that lesson.

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Now Available: K-8 Keyboard Curriculum

K-8 Keyboard Curriculum:

The Essential Guide to Teaching Keyboarding in 45 Minutes a Week

You may think it impossible to find an effective keyboarding curriculum for the skimpy forty-five minutes a week you can devote to keyboarding. You teach what you can, but it always seems to be the same lessons—hands on home row, good posture, eyes on the copy. You wonder if it’s making a difference, or if it matters.

Yes, it does and there is a way. It requires a plan, faithfully executed, with your eye relentlessly on the goal, but if you commit, it works. In this book, The Essential Guide to Teaching Keyboarding in 45 Minutes a Week: a K-8 Curriculum, I’ll share a unique keyboarding curriculum for K-8 that I’ve seen work on thousands of students. The book includes:

  • A summary of the literature
  • Answers to the most-asked questions like ‘Can youngers learn to keyboard—and should they?’
  • The importance of the teacher to early keyboarders

The K-8 curriculum includes a lot more variety than keyboard exercises on installed software. Here’s a rundown of the pieces used:

  • Keyboarding software (yes, you do need repetition)
  • Online keyboarding websites
  • Age-appropriate use of hand covers
  • Quarterly speed/accuracy quizzes
  • Quarterly blank keyboarding quizzes
  • Monthly homework
  • Wall charts to support learning and display evidence of success
  • Grading based on student improvement, not conformity to class norms

You’ll learn practical strategies on how to blend these pieces, each added at the right time, to teach the keyboarding skills required for today’s classroom.

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Tech Tip #24: How to Open A New Word Doc Without the Program

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 can’t find the Word icon that opens MS Word. What do I do?

A: Let’s say you looked on your desktop and the Word icon that usually opens MS Word has disappeared. These things happen and always at the worst time. You might have pinned it to the start menu but what if you didn’t?

No problem. All you have to do is right click on the desktop and pick New Word Doc. That’s what it does–opens a new Word doc for you without going through opening the program first.


Snazzy.

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Photoshop

#10: Drawing in Photoshop

Photoshop reputation as a photo editor ignores its many other tools that enable you to draw like a pro with a wide variety of brushes, textures, and scintillating extras. This side of Photoshop is perfect for creative projects that tie in with many different classroom lesson plans.

[caption id="attachment_5413" align="aligncenter" width="576"]photoshop Photoshop basics[/caption]

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