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Kindergarten

Kindergartners need Technology too!

kindergarten technologyHi all! I’m off to visit good efriend Norah Colvin over at ReadiLearn to discuss how important technology is even for kindergartners. If you’ve ever wondered about that, come check out my short article on this subject. And leave comments so we can chat!

Before getting into the article, I want to thank Norah Colvin for inviting me as a guest on her wonderful newly-redesigned education blog, ReadiLearn where Norah covers great topics for the first three years of education., I’ve been a long-time subscriber, always coming away a little smarter on teaching our youngest learners.

A topic dear to me–and one I get lots of questions about–is teaching Kindergartners to Tech.

When I started teaching technology almost twenty years ago, I taught K-8, three classes in each grade every week. I was buried under lesson plans, grades, and parent meetings. I remember suggesting to my principal that he ease my schedule by eliminating tech for kindergartners. They wouldn’t miss anything if I started them in first or second grade.

And back then, that was true. Even a decade ago, technology was an extra class in student schedules where now, it is a life skill. Today, my teacher colleagues tell me kids arrive at school already comfortable in the use of iPads and smartphones, doing movements like swipe, squeeze, and flick better than most adults. Many teachers, even administrators, use that as the reason why technology training isn’t needed for them, arguing, “They’re digital natives.”

Read on…

More on kindergarten and technology

22 Websites and 4 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Tech Curriculum

How to Teach Mouse Skills to Pre-Keyboarders


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, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: Kindergarten | Leave a comment

18 Easter Sites For Students

Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. To non-Christians (or non-traditional Christians), that event signifies a rebirth of spring that is filled with joy and gifts — and chocolate! Overall, it is America’s most-popular holiday with Christmas a close second. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 1, 2018.

Here’s a good mixture of games, lesson plans, stories, and songs that can be blended into many academic subjects:

18+ Interactive Easter websites

Preschool-2

This website includes a colorful collection of Easter (and Spring) games and information that is visual and enticing to youngers. Games are Easter Math, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Egg Dress-up, Easter Word hunt, complete-the-sentence, and more. Also, viewers will find websites about the history of Easter around the world.

(more…)

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

How Readilearn grew from one woman’s dream to an exciting education resource

Norah Colvin, educator, writer, and consultant, is the brilliance behind the exciting education website, readilearn. It started as her dream and is now a go-to resource provider for the first three years of a child’s learning journey. I’ve gotten to know Norah Colvin online through her pithy posts about teaching. Every time I leave her blog, I come away better for having stopped by. I think if we lived near each other–or taught in the same District–we’d be fast friends. Norah used her deep knowledge on teaching to create resources for professionals in this field. I’m a big supporter of teacher-authors (anyone out there? I’d love to host you here) and asked her to share her expertise with my readers:

***

lreadilearnThank you very much for inviting me to write a guest post on your blog, Jacqui. I am delighted. I always enjoy your wonderful suggestions for using technology in the classroom and wish I was still there to implement them. I have often said that I was born too soon. I arrived a little too early to enjoy the richness of technology that is now available to teachers in the classroom.

That’s not to say that I was slow to get involved with technology when it became available; I was just already well into my adult years.

Even before I purchased my first personal computer in 1985, an Apple IIe, I had tinkered with electronics kits to try to get an understanding of how computers worked.  I think there were cables and switches and various things to turn on and off a series of LED lights. At the same time, I was absorbed by the games we played on an Atari 2600, which was ostensibly purchased for my son, in 1984.

The purchase of the Apple IIe replaced my use of a typewriter, and I slowly adapted to using it for composing as well as ‘typing up’ work and stories that I had written, edited, revised and rewritten by hand. I loved using Publisher and thought the dot matrix images, now considered so primitive, were just wonderful. I taught myself BASIC and made some simple activities for children in my classroom to use. I also began using it to prepare lessons and activities, though I still made most by hand.

I had one computer in my classroom in 1985 and two in 1986. I was flabbergasted when I returned to the classroom in the early naughties, after a few years’ break, to find that most classrooms were lucky if they had two computers. While change may have been slow in the first twenty years of computers in the classroom, implementation intensified as the internet became more accessible and reliable.

You may be wondering why I would provide this information in the introduction to a post about readilearn, an online collection of teaching resources for the first three years of school. But to me, it is a simple progression, a culmination of my life’s work. It allows me to combine activities I love with my passion for learning and education.

(more…)

Categories: Guest post, Kindergarten | Tags: , | Leave a comment

22 Websites and 4 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills

Resource list constantly updated here

Many of my most popular articles are about mouse skills. Every year, tens of thousands of teachers visit Ask a Tech Teacher to find resources for teaching students how to use a mouse. No surprise because using a mouse correctly is one of the most important pre-keyboarding skills. Holding it is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break.

The earlier posts are still active, but I’ve updated this resource with more websites and posters to assist in starting off your newest computer aficionados.

Mouse Skillsmouse skills

  1. Bees and Honey
  2. Drawing Melody–draw in many colors with the mouse and create music
  3. Hover skills–drag mouse over the happy face and see it move
  4. Left-click practice while playing the piano
  5. MiniMouse
  6. Mouse and tech basics–video
  7. Mouse practice—drag, click
  8. Mouse skills
  9. Mouse Song
  10. Mr. Picasso Head
  11. OwlieBoo–mouse practice

Puzzles

Kids love puzzles and they are a great way to teach drag-and-drop skills with the mouse buttons. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Digipuzzles–great puzzles for geography, nature, and holidays
  2. Jigsaw Planet–create your own picture jigsaw
  3. Jigsaw puzzles
  4. Jigzone–puzzles
  5. Jigsaw Puzzles–JS

Adults

  1. Mousing Around
  2. Skillful Senior

Posters

(more…)

Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Tags: | 3 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Tech Curriculum

technology curriculumI 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.

Today: the K-8 Technology Curriculum

Overview

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.

Updated in 2018, 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 website  with FREE videos on how to teach each lesson throughout the year, a glossary of terms used in the books, and how-to videos on webtools referred to in the books (not all, but most).

The curriculum is used worldwide by public and private schools and homeschoolers.

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, AATT Materials, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

19 Websites and 3 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills

Many of my most popular articles are about mouse skills. Every year, tens of thousands of teachers visit Ask a Tech Teacher to find resources for teaching students how to use a mouse. No surprise because using a mouse correctly is one of the most important pre-keyboarding skills. Holding it is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break.

The earlier posts are still active, but I’ve updated this resource with more websites and posters to assist in starting off your newest computer aficionados.

Mouse Skillsmouse skills

  1. Bees and Honey
  2. Drawing Melody–draw in many colors with the mouse and create music
  3. Hover skills–drag mouse over the happy face and see it move
  4. Left-click practice while playing the piano
  5. MiniMouse
  6. Mouse and tech basics–video
  7. Mouse practice—drag, click
  8. Mouse skills
  9. Mouse Song
  10. Mr. Picasso Head
  11. OwlieBoo–mouse practice

Puzzles

Kids love puzzles and they are a great way to teach drag-and-drop skills with the mouse buttons. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Digipuzzles–great puzzles for geography, nature, and holidays
  2. Jigsaw Planet–create your own picture jigsaw
  3. Jigsaw puzzles
  4. Jigzone–puzzles
  5. Jigsaw Puzzles–JS

Adults

  1. Mousing Around
  2. Skillful Senior

Posters

(more…)

Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Tags: | 11 Comments

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Tech Curriculum

technology curriculumI 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

Overview

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 (requires coupon code to enter) with FREE webinars on how to teach each lesson throughout the year, a glossary of terms used in the books, and how-to videos on webtools referred to in the books (not all, but many). Here, you can also ask questions about using the curriculum. It’s used worldwide by

The curriculum is used worldwide by public and private schools and homeschoolers.

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, AATT Materials, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

15 Easter Sites For Students

easter websitesMany Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. The date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. This year, it’s April 16, 2017.

Here are some websites your students will love:

  1. Easter color-me (for Kindergarten/first grade)
  2. Easter Color Me to print or import to drawing program
  3. Easter games II
  4. Easter games III
  5. Easter games IV
  6. Easter poems and songs (to play online)
  7. Easter Puppies–video
  8. Easter puzzles and games
  9. Easter songs for kids
  10. Easter story--the Easter Egg–video
  11. Easter Word hunt (Starfall)

Here are four sites that work well with iPads:

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, Holidays, Kindergarten, Websites | Tags: | 4 Comments

The Power of Symbols–What does the word ‘Turkey’ mean?

thanksgivingLast 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.

[polldaddy poll=7398424]

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, Holidays, Kindergarten, Lesson plans, Math, Word study/Vocabulary | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Teach Mouse Skills to Pre-Keyboarders

2027749 cartoon computer mouseMany students enter kindergarten with a basic knowledge of digital devices like iPads and smartphones, but this rarely includes the use of a mouse. This little piece of hardware is strictly for desktop devices and maybe add-ons for laptops. In today’s tech world, you may even consider it a niche item.

But you’d be wrong.

Rarely is there a child that can get through school without using a mouse. If s/he doesn’t know the basic skills — click, double-click, right-click, drag-drop, hover — they will be confused, even frustrated, by so much of what makes technology work. These are not intuitive, starting with how to hold the mouse.

mouse_hold

Little hands with undeveloped fine motor skills struggle to keep their pointer and middle finger spread apart while simultaneously pushing with one finger rather than the whole hand. The moment before students grab ahold of that round little device, teach them how to use it. Don’t expect them — or force them — to figure it out on their own. It’s not intuitive and — like keyboarding — will only create bad habits that must be broken later.

Here are nine websites that teach mouse basics to kindergarten and first graders in clever ways:

(more…)

Categories: 1st, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Leave a comment